peters hb3235cSpringfield– In an effort to combat a tactic that allows businesses to receive incentives from the government without public knowledge, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is sponsoring a bill to prevent the state or any local unit of government from entering into a contract that would include a non-disclosure agreement in economic deals.

“Eliminating non-disclosure agreements will help bring vital transparency and accountability and ensure that local communities have a say in local development,” Peters said. “This is not just a Chicago or Illinois problem, but also a nationwide issue where we frequently see companies making deals they wish to keep out of the public eye.”

Senate Bill 3038 would prevent the state as well as local governments from entering into non-disclosure agreements in economic development deals, eliminating a tactic that frequently allows businesses to secretly lobby while extracting sweetheart deals without the knowledge or input of local residents. Similar legislation has also been introduced in Florida and New York.

Nationwide, state and local governments spend tens of billions of dollars every year on economic development subsidies, according to the American Economic Liberties Project. Non-disclosure agreements help facilitate those subsidy deals by keeping key details, such as the identity of the businesses receiving taxpayer support, secret from the public.

“Public money deserves public scrutiny,” Peters said. “Keeping the government contracts that our governments enter into a secret allows states and local governments to be played against one another. Taxpayers deserve basic transparency from their economic development agencies.”

 

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