Economic development achieves the most when municipalities, counties, and other partners work together across jurisdictional borders. The region’s communities collectively share in and build up our competitive advantages of a skilled workforce, extensive transportation infrastructure, and strong quality of life. Local governments, economic development entities, and others could improve outcomes, expand staff expertise and resources, and reduce costs by partnering on services like business expansion, retention, and attraction. Many jurisdictions with lower fiscal or staff capacity may need assistance for initial collaborations. CMAP, the region’s counties, universities, and civic organizations can play a substantive role in helping local governments collaborate. Nationally, many examples of successful partnerships to meet local and regional goals exist. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the hyper-competitive environment created by municipalities’ pursuit of income tax revenue led to a non-compete agreement to encourage intraregional cooperation for business development.{{Cuyahoga County, “Business Attraction & Anti-Poaching Protocol,”}} The Denver region implemented a similar agreement in 1987.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “Reorienting State and Regional Economic Development: Lessons Learned from National Examples,” 2014,}} For additional information, see the ON TO 2050 Tax Policies and Land Use Trends strategy paper.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “Tax Policies and Land Use Trends,” 2017,Strategy papers and other reports}}

Action 1

Implement best practices for subregional economic development to reduce costs and achieve broader economic goals.


Local governments

Action 2

Phase out the property tax classification system to reduce commercial and industrial properties’ current burden, which deters development and creates pressure for higher taxes overall.


Cook County

Action 3

Research case studies and best practices for subregional coordination of economic development. Examples include non-compete agreements, joint economic development initiatives, infrastructure and service sharing, tax base sharing, boundary agreements, and other initiatives.


CMAP and partners like Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the Chicago Regional Growth Corporation

Action 4

Help municipal coalitions to plan for local economic development, focusing on sub-regions that have common planning needs and goals for business expansion, human capital, freight movement, and similar issues with strong relevance to the region’s economy.


CMAP and partners

Action 5

Help local governments to plan for and invest in multijurisdictional transportation investments that best support economic productivity.



Action 6

Facilitate new partnerships between municipalities and develop materials illustrating the benefits of coordinating on shared economic development priorities.


CMAP, Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), counties, and Councils of Governments (COGs)