Illinois Enterprise Zone Program Termination Date Extension Legislation

Notice to Members of IEZA

For the second year in a row IEZA legislation under consideration by the Illinois 96th and 97th General Assemblies has reached the end of the normal legislative cycle without final consideration by the Illinois House of Representatives.  Just as happened in 2010 (SB3659 – 20 year extension, became the Illiana Expressway Act) and has now happened in 2011, the IEZA sponsored bill (formerly SB1633) was shelled and became a measure to accomplish deferred borrowing for the State’s financial woes.  Bills both years passed unanimously from the Senate side over to the House where they failed to be released from committee.

This year, with assistance from various other supportive organizations, IEZA participated in special hearings of the House Revenue Committee and was unsuccessful in advancing the bill.  Several draft suggestions for language were considered and assurances we were assured that there would be no Prevailing Wage mandate language in a final bill.  The enterprise zone program was considered with potential TIF reforms by the committee and attempts to consider the programs apart from each other were unsuccessful.  Committee members opined that the programs were similar and that they should be considered together.  The last amendment IEZA was given to look at included language that would have made the Building Material Sales Tax Exemption function by way of a rebate program.  IEZA pointed out that this method would in fact mandate Prevailing Wage due to the direct exchange of funds with the State as mandated in PA 96-0058 (SB0223).

So, our bill this year was changed into something else, and this has caused some confusion about extension of the program.  Some around the state have reported that extension passed but that is not the case.  Only the bill number was the same at the end of the session and was ultimately a budget measure.  We continue to work on our IEZA message emphasizing the critical worth of the program and the urgency of getting it passed so incentives, which have in some cases already been reduced to virtually nothing, can be restored.

Special Hearings regarding consideration of business climate/taxation and incentives are being held by Representative Bradley and the House Revenue Committee with the first taking place in Chicago on July 19 in Chicago and two others to follow on August 2 in Rockford and August 23 in Springfield.  IEZA is continuing to provide input through this process.

Meanwhile, IEZA suggests to our membership continuous contact with your respective members of the General Assembly to urge them to advance IEZA’s proposed 20-year extension of the program for the betterment of Illinois and the economic health of our zone communities.