Minutes ago, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed legislation (SB 3688) championed by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) and the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association (IEZA) that extends Illinois enterprise zones for an additional twenty-five years. Co-sponsored by Senator Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) and Sen. Pam Althoff (R-Crystal Lake), this critical legislation will maintain an economic development tool used to help attract and retain jobs across the state. Without an extension, the ninety-seven enterprise zones will begin expiring in 2013 including zones in Decatur, Peoria, Rockford, Chicago, East St. Louis, Des Plaines River Valley and Canton/Fulton County.
The IMA with input from IEZA initiated this legislation and worked with supporters from both sides of the aisle in the Senate. President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno formed a special Enterprise Zone Committee that conducted four public hearings around the state to solicit testimony and support from hundreds of companies, economic development officials, labor unions, and elected leaders.
SB 3688 creates long term stability and predictability by extending zones for 25 years, creating ten new zones, enlarging the current geographic size, modernizing the tax structure, and requiring additional transparency and accountability by enterprise zone administrators.
Despite the overwhelming popularity and measured success of the enterprise zone program, it faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives that has twice failed to act. Everyone is encouraged to call your respective state representatives and ask them to support the enterprise zone legislation (SB 3688).