Hearings on proposed enterprise zone legislation
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[March 02, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- On Monday, state Sens.
Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry, and Michael Frerichs, D-Champaign, were
named co-chairs of a newly created bipartisan Senate Special
Committee on Enterprise Zone Extensions that will travel the state
to gather input on proposed legislation to modernize and extend the
enterprise zone program.
The program, established in 1982, is one of the state's most proven
and successful economic development tools. Beginning next year,
these zones will start to expire, and businesses statewide will lose
access to the various incentives they offer.
"I think we have a
tremendous opportunity to fine-tune this great economic development
tool to make sure it remains useful and productive for years to
come. As a former mayor, I am keenly aware of how vital enterprise
zones can be in spurring economic development and creating jobs,"
said Althoff, who before joining the Senate was the mayor of
McHenry. "At the same time, I am also sensitive to the need to
balance tax incentives with worthwhile results. I look forward to
hearing from others about their experiences and ultimately producing
and passing a meaningful enterprise zone reform package."
Frerichs stressed that the goal is to make sure this effective
economic development program remains successful.
"We know enterprise zones have been creating jobs across Illinois
for 30 years," said Frerichs. "A program this proven and successful
deserves this kind of comprehensive approach, rather than piecemeal
renewals. I look forward to hearing from business and community
officials throughout the state on how we can keep this great program
going and improve it for the future."
The committee's first hearing will be on March 15 at Southern
Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center in Carbondale. Three
additional hearings are planned for Peoria, Rockford and Chicago.
Exact dates and times are yet to be determined.
The special committee was created Monday at the direction of
John J. Cullerton. The six-member committee will have three
members from each party, to be chosen by Cullerton and Republican
Leader Christine Radogno.
Enterprise zones seek to stimulate economic growth by creating
specified geographic regions that offer state and local tax
incentives and regulatory relief to businesses within that zone. In
2011 alone, the program is credited with creating 8,980 jobs and
nearly $2.5 billion in investments.
"Enterprise zones are a crucial economic development tool in
Illinois that have a real record of success. Nearly $50 billion in
capital investment and more than 900,000 jobs have been created or
retained since their inception," said Greg Baise, president & CEO of
the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, the oldest and largest
manufacturing trade associations in the country. "We applaud the
bipartisan effort to provide long-term stability and foresight to
economic development in Illinois."
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The Illinois Manufacturers'
Association is working with lawmakers to produce a comprehensive
modernization and extension package regarding enterprise zones. That
3688) includes the following reforms:
enterprise zones for an additional 25 years, subject to approval
of state and local officials.
Allows up to 10
additional zones to be created over the next 10 years.
available tax incentives to remove those that are not producing
Requires maps of enterprise zones to be
"Illinois enterprise zones have proven themselves to be a vital
business retention and attraction tool. They are utilized by
employers of all sizes and have added a measure of predictability
for Illinois job creators and economic development professionals as
we all compete for jobs and investment," said Craig Coil, president
of the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association. "Long-term extension of
enterprise zones is critical to the success of our economic
development efforts in Illinois, and I'm pleased that the Senate is
focusing its attention on this important issue."
The goal of the hearings is to gather input from local business
and community leaders and enterprise zone officials. Legislators aim
to pass a comprehensive enterprise zone package this spring.
[Text from file received from Illinois Senate]