Lt. Gov. Simon launches military study

Online Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (D) has announced the launch of a comprehensive economic impact analysis of active military bases in Illinois.

The study, announced during a quarterly meeting of the state’s Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC), is to be completed by October.

We need the best information available to retain our military economy and grow the direct and indirect jobs it creates,” Simon said.

The study will calculate the economic impact of the state’s military installations and provide the data needed for Congressional, state and business leaders to protect Illinois’ military economy at a time of federal cuts. Simon said bidding for the project will begin shortly.

With shifting national budget priorities, forced reallocations through the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, and the threat of future BRAC (base realignment and closure) rounds threatening key regions of Illinois, Simon said the statewide impact study will educate stakeholders and promote the importance of defense assets and the defense industry economy in Illinois.

The study will be commissioned by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in conjunction with the IMBSEDC. Created as an entity within Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in 2005, Simon is chairman of the IMBSEDC. The impact study aligns with the committee’s statutory duties regarding military base retention.

The IMBSEDC meeting also featured a presentation by military school liaison officers regarding the Illinois Educational Opportunity for Military Children Act, which is modeled on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children. Key education transition issues were discussed, including how to strengthen school policies regarding enrollment, placement in classes and extracurricular activities, access to kindergarten, and graduation requirements.

As chairman of the IMBSEDC, Simon helps coordinate the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois.

Posted Jan. 15, 2014

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