Pritzker Uses Global Stage To Attract Clean Energy Investors And Jobs To Illinois As GOP Critics Attack Him On Social Media
GLASGOW, Scotland (NEXSTAR) – At the biggest stage of his political career, Governor JB Pritzker promoted Illinois as an open state for business for climate-friendly investors and companies in the clean energy sector .
Pritzker was invited to address a side group at the United Nations Climate Change Conference with three other Democratic governors two months after the Illinois General Assembly approved his clean energy initiative and two weeks after adopting a tax incentive program for electric vehicle manufacturers.
âIllinois has once again taken a leadership role in establishing a national climate action plan,â Pritzker told the international audience. âWe are open for business in the state of Illinois for the sake of the climate, striving to be the best state in the country for driving an electric vehicle. “
Pritzker shared the stage with Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Washington) who campaigned for the presidency of the 2020 Democratic primary largely on a clean energy platform. Inslee and Pritzker mocked each other as they each claimed their state leads the nation in tackling climate change.
âI want to congratulate them,â Inslee told Governors Pritzker, Kate Brown of Oregon and David Ige of Hawaii. “They’re tied for second place for best climate change program in the United States.”
“I come from the largest state in the United States,” Pritzker replied, adding, “We produced Barack Obama and we are, of course, the land of Abraham Lincoln.”
âI am here to say that at the heart of America lies a state that is making strides in responding to the urgency of this moment,â said Pritzker. âOver half a century ago, Illinois was the first state in the United States to create an environmental protection agency. We’re proud of that legacy, and today, in 2021, Illinois once again took a leadership role in establishing a national climate action plan. “
Before Pritzker can have ambitious goals of comparing climate change benchmarks with Inslee or other Democrats, perhaps in a presidential primary competition in 2024, he will have to face one of the Republicans vying for the challenge for his post in 2022. While he uses the trip to raise his political profile, two of his potential rivals attacked him on Twitter as being absent from work or out of touch with working class struggles.
State Senator Darren Bailey (R-Louisville) shared a photo of Pritzker sitting in a London pub with Senate Speaker Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside ), calling them “elites in Europe toasting while The Illinois find it hard to pay more for gas and groceries.”
Bailey opposed the 2019 capital infrastructure bill which more than doubled state fuel taxes, voted against a bill to slightly reduce personal income taxes earning less than $ 100,000 a year and voted against a bill to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. .
Jesse Sullivan, a Republican venture capitalist who has just entered the primary race, has tried to turn the conversation from climate change to crime. He tweeted a link to a Fox News article and said: “While JB Pritzker was drinking in Europe, nine people were killed and 39 injured in Chicago.”
Sensitive to the recent increase in crime, Pritzker just signed a new executive order last week launching a new state office for the prevention of gun violence, and pledged to spend $ 250 million in funds. organizations to help local violence prevention groups in communities across the state.
While on stage in Scotland, Pritzker shared the credit with a handful of Illinois Republicans who voted to endorse his clean energy deal, noting that they supported policies that promise to create new jobs.
âI would have liked to have had a majority of Republican support for that. We couldn’t get that. But we’ve had it and I think it’s progress, âPritzker said, responding to a journalist’s question about the partisan deadlock around climate science. âI think what they shared in common, the people who voted for it with us, was a real focus on job creation, a real focus on ‘It’s as much about economic development as it is about safeguarding our planet.'”
Pritzker’s re-election campaign did not respond to Republican attacks.
Some of the accusations made by the Illinois Republican Party Twitter account were false or misleading. ILGOP shared a photo of Pritzker sitting with Welch and Harmon raising glasses of beer without a mask and noted that Illinois still has a mask mandate. The implication that heads of state did not follow their own rules ignores the obvious fact that mask warrants do not apply to people sitting to eat and drink in restaurants, let alone the strict travel requirements they had to meet, including an obligation to prove their immunization status before entering the country.
In the same tweet, the Illinois GOP falsely stated that “the three most powerful men in the state government are abroad in London for the taxpayer’s penny.” The three men in the photo paid for their own trips without using state funds, according to officials at each of their offices.
Later, a spokesperson for the Illinois Republican Party said they were actually referring to the travel expenses of officials, none of whom were pictured or referenced in the tweet. While an outside business development group covered staff travel costs, Gov. Pritzker’s office said it would use taxpayer funds to pay for staff accommodation costs. Two vice-governors, two other assistants and the governor’s chief of staff accompanied him on the trip.
âOur new climate plan is the most important step Illinois has taken in a generation towards a reliable, renewable, affordable and clean energy future,â Pritzker told the crowd. âEveryone here in Glasgow is keenly aware that when it comes to tackling climate change there is so much more to do. We know that in the state of Illinois; but whatever can be done must be done.
“We are not finished,” he said. âWe know there is more to do and we will work hard on it. Climate change is a crisis that requires action now, but it is also an opportunity: a chance to develop technologies, create jobs, diversify our economies and pick up traditionally overburdened communities.
The first aspects of Pritzker’s clean energy program begin to take effect next year when Illinois residents can start claiming rebates of $ 4,000 on the purchase of an electric vehicle. Other manufacturing companies that make electric cars, batteries, or other charging stations may pay as little as zero in corporate income tax over the next five years if they meet investment or investment targets. specific hiring to create and develop jobs in Illinois.