Illinois Leaders Applaud Enterprise Zone Extension

Business leaders in the Illinois Valley area hailed the passage of a bill that extends the life of enterprise zones by an additional 25 years. Tuesday, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a new law extending the Illinois Enterprise Zone program. Public Act 97-905 should create greater long-term stability for businesses and attract more investment in Illinois by providing a 25-year extension of the program.

“We want our businesses to invest, grow and put more Illinois residents to work,” Quinn said in a press release issued Tuesday. “This new law provides employers with the long-term certainty they need to grow, and strengthens oversight standards to ensure accountability from businesses that participate in the program.”

Marci Duro, executive director of the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development, welcomed the news of the bill’s signing. “It’s not perfect,” Duro allowed. “There are a lot of other things we need to fix but it’s a positive.”

Besides the 25-year extension, the new law makes three significant changes to the state program:

  • A new application process: Applicants seeking zone certification must meet three of 10 criteria including unemployment, infrastructure, plant closure/job loss, education, poverty rates, and high commercial and industrial vacancy.
  • Establishment of an Enterprise Zone Board: Comprised of two agency heads and three gubernatorial appointees, the board will approve or deny zone applications after being certified and scored by regulators.
  • Increased reporting requirements: Businesses must annually submit detailed reports if they receive tax benefits. Failure to report data shall result in ineligibility to receive incentives. 

The extension was filed as Senate Bill 3616 and passed unanimously out of both houses in the Illinois General Assembly.

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