Focus Areas


What is High-Road Economic Development?

High-road strategies to grow the Illinois economy are policies and practices which promote jobs with good pay, good benefits, and higher purchasing power for the labor force. These policies support economic sustainability, economic opportunity, productive investment, public-private partnerships, cooperation between labor and management, and democratic and transparent governance. High-road economic development attracts business activity through the development of people, forward-thinking infrastructure investment, and durable consumer demand.


Labor Market Policy

The vitality of the Illinois economy and tax base relies on the strength of the state’s labor market. Illinois needs policies which promote the creation of good jobs. Through high wages and good benefits, good jobs support economic security, promote self-sufficiency, and allow workers to support a family.


To promote good jobs in Illinois, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute evaluates working conditions, industries, labor-employment policies, and other policies of strategic interest– such as prevailing wage, right-to-work, employee classification, and education and worker training.


Infrastructure Investment

Infrastructure investment attracts business activity by providing the foundation for the efficient transportation of goods, services, and people. A first-rate infrastructure network promotes cost-effectiveness for businesses and growth for communities. Unfortunately, Illinois’ infrastructure is deteriorating and needs to be improved. Infrastructure investment supports construction jobs, spurs private development, grows the tax base, and meets the needs of the state’s future population and businesses.


To promote investment in Illinois, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute evaluates the costs and benefits of proposed public construction projects, labor and management practices in the construction industry, and government organizations and policies related to transportation and infrastructure.


Energy Independence

Energy independence is important for the stability of the Illinois economy. Energy independence means expanding the state’s production of energy to more closely align with its consumption. By developing innovative solutions to stimulate both the development of renewable energy sources and growth in existing sources and technology, Illinois can improve energy affordability for households and businesses.


To promote energy independence in Illinois, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute evaluates the energy industry and government policies related to the production, consumption, and taxation of energy and power.


Public Finance & Budgeting

Healthy budgetary and tax practices promote economic growth, investment in the state, and the general well-being of Illinois residents. Illinois governments must ensure that revenues are expended effectively for taxpayers. To sustain healthy public finances, Illinois governments must commit to increasing the state’s tax base through economic development, sustained wage growth, and changes to the tax code– raising revenue where needed.


To promote healthy budgetary and tax practices in Illinois, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute evaluates government revenues and spending, proposed amendments to the tax code, and the effect of various policies on government revenues.

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