Illinois’ Enterprise Zone program has been deemed one of the most successful economic development tools by the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity along with businesses, local officials and economic development officials across the state. Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 900,000 jobs have been created or retained in addition to $49 billion in capital investment. With zones set to begin expiring in 2013, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Enterprise Zone Association and Taxpayer’s Federation of Illinois worked on a comprehensive reform and extension package that preserves an important economic development tool while increasing transparency and accountability. Key components include:
Long Term Extension: The legislation provides for 25-year long term extension of the Enterprise Zone program with a mandatory performance review of the zone at the midpoint. This ensures long term stability and predictability for job creators.
Competition: Both current communities and new communities that can meet at least three of the ten qualifying criteria may apply for an enterprise zone. Criteria include unemployment rate, infrastructure, EAV, plant closure/job loss, education, low income/ poverty rates, and high commercial and industrial vacancy.
Increases the Number of Zones: In addition to the current 97 zones, five new zones will be added over the next two decades as current River’s Edge Zones expire and those areas become enterprise zones.
Fiscal Responsibility: The legislation eliminates three tax incentives that are not critical to the core mission of enterprise zones. This will save the state millions of dollars while ensuring that this economic development tool is available to attract investment.
Accountability: All companies receiving tax benefits from enterprise zones and high impact businesses will be required to annually report their tax incentive information annually to the Department of Revenue that will aggregate the information for reporting back to the General Assembly. Tax information will be kept confidential. A new Enterprise Zone Board is vested with the power to approve or deny decisions made by DCEO to ensure that proper criteria are met.
Strong Sales Tax Exemption Reform: Contractors and subcontractors working for high impact businesses and enterprise zone projects will be required to get a specific certification from the Department of Revenue that will ensure the sales tax exemption certificate is not being used improperly. Revenue will be able to track and audit these contractors to ensure compliance.
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
Illinois Enterprise Zone Association
Taxpayers Federation of Illinois
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
Illinois Association of Realtors
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Southland Chamber of Commerce
Illinois Renewable Fuels Association
Valley Industrial Association
Chemical Industry Council of Illinois
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce
Southwest Illinois Employers Association
Archer Daniels Midland
United Scrap Metal
City of Peoria