Enterprise Zone Committee Approves Extension Legislation
Friday, April 20, 2012
During the month of April employment growth and economic development were the focus of a series of statewide legislative hearings conducted by the bipartisal Special Senate Committee on Enterprise Zone Extensions. On Thursday the Committee voted to approve Senate Bill 3688, the legislation that will extend and expand the enterprise zones. The legislation now heads to the Senate floor where it will be considered by the full body.
Senate Bill 3688 adds an additional 25 years to existing enterprise zones, allows for the creation of 10 new zones and for increases in the geographic size of zones. Additionally the legislation eliminates 3 obsolete tax incentives and increases transparency requirements.
Senator LaHood, and other members of the special Senate committee heard testimony throughout the state from business representatives and employers as well as from units of local government and economic development officials. Witnesses testified in favor of extending enterprise zones which offer a number of incentives aimed at attracting and retaining business. These incentives range from property tax abatements, to utility and sales tax breaks as well other tax credits.
Illinois has almost 100 enterprise zones that were established in 1982 to create jobs and spur economic growth. Several enterprise zones are scheduled to expire in the coming year unless lawmakers extend the program. In anticipation of that extension, legislators on the committee are seeking input from the business community and local leaders to help evaluate and hopefully improve the incentive program.
Since being established, the zones have contributed to the creation of more than 900,000 jobs and led to nearly $50 billion in associated revenue. Legislation has been introduced to extend the length of the zones by 25 years, create up to 10 new zones over the next 10 years, and implement transparency and accountability for these zones. The program is credited with creating 8,980 jobs and nearly $2.5 billion in investments in 2011 alone.
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