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Governor Rauner’s office announces new consolidated policy organization

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Four new policy units formed; Rauner, Sanguinetti economic team announced

L. Nicole Trottie, Chief Editor

CHICAGO | Governor Bruce Rauner and Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinette announced today a new assembly team of experts who are to focus on issue areas key to state policy development.

The new policy teams – in economics, health and social services, criminal justice, and infrastructure and regulation – will integrate their efforts to serve the offices of Gov. Rauner and Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti, announced Rauner in a statement. Comprised of experts from government, the private sector and nonprofits, the team will  work under the direction of Micahel Lucci, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy.

“We’ve attracted a group of talented, experienced policy professionals and public servants,” Lucci said. “They share a passion for making Illinois a state where hard-working families can achieve their dreams, in part because government policy has helped facilitate economic opportunity and societal fairness.”

On-track with Rauner’s goal to architect a balanced budget, the first of four units to be announced is that which focuses on the state of economics.  The unit will play a central role in creating the vision and policy framework for balanced budgets, sustainable finances and a pro-growth environment for job creation, according to Rauner.  Hans Zigmund, named the governor’s first economic policy director, leads the effort with agencies and other stakeholders inside and outside of state government that focus on economic policy.

Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Zigmund was chief economist at the Department of Revenue.  He previously held positions as associate director for Rauner’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB).  Under Zigmund’s leadership the team will be responsible for tax policy analysis, balanced budget initiatives, public pension reform and regulatory relief in areas such as workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and occupational licensure. The team also will recommend initiatives in tax increment finance reforms, property tax relief and tax credit evaluation.

The new assembly team of economic policy group members include:

Mischa Fisher, economist and economic policy adviser: Fisher is a former Congressional legislative director in Washington, D.C., overseeing financial services, technology, science and infrastructure policy. He is responsible for economic policy areas including energy and economic regulatory policy.

Charlie Weikel, policy adviser: Before joining the governor’s office, Weikel served as a management consultant, focusing on corporate strategy and operations. Weikel covers pension and fiscal municipal policy on Gov. Rauner’s economics team. Weikel also works on agency-level operations in the Governor’s Office, covering a variety of operations topics, ranging from operational improvements to performance contracts.

Kristy Stephenson, policy adviser: Before joining Gov. Rauner’s team, Stephenson served as the downstate director for the Illinois comptroller. She has served as the treasurer of the city of Metropolis since 2004, and she was a founding appointee to the Massac Metropolis Port District. Stephenson will represent the Governor’s Office policy team in southern Illinois, focusing on municipal fiscal issues and on opportunities for economic growth in downstate Illinois.

Brian Costin, deputy chief of staff and policy director to Lt. Governor Sanguinetti: Costin was the lead policy staffer on the Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force in 2015, and he currently serves as the lead policy staffer on the Military Economic Development Committee and the Joint Rivers Coordinating Council. Previously, Costin worked at the Illinois Policy Institute as a local government transparency and anti-corruption expert, and he worked in government relations at the Heartland Institute. As policy adviser to Gov. Rauner, Costin will focus on tax increment financing, local government, lottery, disaster and anti-corruption policy matters.

Joshua Altman, Dunn Fellow: Altman is a 2017 graduate of Yale University who was an investment banking summer analyst with Goldman Sachs.   Altman will assist the economic team in research and policy development.

Gov. Rauner announced plans last Thursday, Sep 7, to borrow $6 billion to work on paying down Illinois’ massive backlog of unpaid bills that he inherited when elected to office in 2014.  However, in a give and take, Gov. Rauner warned that he’ll trim state spending to pay for the new debt costs.

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