Pritzker speaks about success in Illinois, inflation during Davos panel

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 5:16 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Gov. JB Pritzker is one of several leaders from the United States appearing at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. The Pritzker administration said the governor is at the event to discuss political and social priorities, but it is also an opportunity for the governor to be seen by a larger audience.

Pritzker said he is working as the chief marketing officer for Illinois while he is in Switzerland. He joined Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Senators Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin, and other leaders to discuss the legislative landscape of the United States Tuesday morning.

Borge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum Geneva, recalled that Pritzker has a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2050. Pritzker said his clean energy plan has been well-received by many Illinoisans due to bipartisanship to get the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act passed. The governor said he is proud of the significant progress made toward a fossil-free state.

Pritzker also said many Americans wish to see more bipartisanship on the federal level. While Pritzker said President Joe Biden has gotten a lot done for Americans during his first term, he also acknowledged that the Democrat has struggled to work with Republicans and reluctant lawmakers from his own party. The governor argued that the federal government should learn from state lawmakers who have successfully passed plans to grow the economy and address social issues.

“In my state, people want to ban assault weapons. We just did that. Protect a woman’s right to choose. We just did that,” Pritzker said. “Those are not happening at the federal level and should, but we’re doing it at the state level. And it’s also true about building our economy.”

The governor noted that the Illinois economy recently passed the $1 trillion mark for annual GDP. Pritzker said Illinois received some help from the federal government. However, he stressed that the state charted a course to set a new industrial policy to attract business. The Democrat also said Congress should focus on passing more plans to help working families.

Several of the panelists talked about hyperpartisanship in modern politics. Pritzker said people can find ways to get things done, but he also faces challenges frequently.

“It is very hard, especially when you have people who deny reality who are holding office. I mean literally people who believe in space lasers and have very strange views about what we ought to be doing as a country,” Pritzker said. “There still are people in the GOP caucus who are very pro-Russia and I wonder about that in this day and age, at this moment. It’s not being critical of all Republicans, but I just don’t know where this stuff comes from other than QAnon and I don’t know.

Brende also asked Pritzker if he agrees with many financial experts saying inflation is going down. Pritzker said the United States cannot rely on raising interest rates to see inflation go back down to 2%. The governor said he feels people will have to live with a slightly elevated amount of inflation.

Pritzker said he is optimistic about the U.S. economy and hopes there won’t be a recession. Although, he said every state should still be prepared.

“My expectation is that it will not be a deep recession if there is one and that business is, though it may be moderating, we’re not going to see a major dip,” Pritzker said. “And we’re not seeing massive job losses. In fact, there is still a huge demand for labor and that is, unfortunately, one of the things driving inflation.”

Delaware Senator Chris Coons said he agreed with Pritzker that the United States could see a relatively light recession.

Pritzker is scheduled to speak during panels about clean energy and infrastructure later this week. The governor will also visit Germany for business development opportunities for Illinois. First Lady MK Pritzker, Chief of Staff Anne Caprara, Deputy Gov. Andy Manar, and Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell joined Pritzker for the trip.

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