As part of his agenda to grow jobs and increase economic development across Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law to extend the Illinois Enterprise Zone program, a state and local partnership to encourage economic growth across the state. Senate Bill 3616 will create greater long-term stability for businesses, attract more investment in Illinois and protect the interests of taxpayers. The new law provides for a 25-year extension of the program, which creates a process for existing communities with zones and new communities to apply for the designation.
"We want our businesses to invest, grow and put more Illinois residents to work," Governor Quinn said. "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."
The new law makes three major changes to the state's Enterprise Zone program:
Extends the sunset of the Illinois Enterprise Zone program
The law extends the Enterprise Zone Program for 25 years, and creates a process for existing communities with zones and new communities to apply for the designation. Under the new procedure, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will accept and review all applications to determine if they meet three of 10 criteria to be certified as a zone, which includes unemployment rate, infrastructure, plant closure/job loss, education, poverty rates, and high commercial and industrial vacancy.
Creates an Enterprise Zone Board
The Enterprise Zone Board will approve or deny enterprise zone applications certified and scored by DCEO. The board will consist of five members: the director of DCEO, or his or her designee, who shall serve as chairperson; the director of the Department of Revenue, or his or her designee; and three members appointed by the Governor.
Increases reporting requirements of companies receiving tax benefits from the Enterprise Zone and High Impact Business programs
The law increases accountability by requiring that any business receiving tax incentives due to its location within an enterprise zone or its designation as a High Impact Business must annually report the total Enterprise Zone or High Impact Business tax benefits received. The report must be broken down by incentive category and enterprise zone, to the Department of Revenue. Failure to report data shall result in ineligibility to receive incentives.
SB3616, sponsored by Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) and Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), passed the General Assembly unanimously and was supported by many in the business community, including the Illinois Municipal League, Caterpillar, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Manufacturers Association. The new law renews the Illinois Enterprise Zone program, which is one of the state's most vital economic tools. During its history, 42,543 businesses have invested in enterprise zones. Businesses located in enterprise zones have created 354,762 jobs and retained 536,562 jobs. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states, including Illinois, have enterprise zone programs under a variety of different program names.
"By helping our communities become enterprise zones, we are giving them a leg up on the competition in drawing companies to their areas, " said Rep. Bradley. "I would like to thank Governor Quinn for signing this law to help bring businesses to every corner of Illinois."
"The Illinois enterprise zone program is a vital tool for growing jobs and attracting investment in Illinois. We applaud Governor Quinn and the General Assembly for taking action and sending a positive message to the business community," said Greg Baise, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, a statewide business group representing nearly 4,000 companies. "Enacting a long-term extension of this successful program is another step in making Illinois a good place to do business and providing stability for employers."
"As economic developers, we compete every day for jobs and investment with locations throughout the country and around the world and the Illinois Enterprise Zone program has kept us in the game for nearly 30 years," said Craig Coil, president of the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association and the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County. "By passing and signing this bill, Governor Quinn and the General Assembly have helped all of us who are involved in economic development in Illinois and the communities we represent remain competitive for the foreseeable future."
"We are listening to what companies say they need to thrive," said David Vaught, acting director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. "They tell us that the Illinois Enterprise Zone program is one of the most effective economic development tools in the state's tool box. By extending the program for 25 years, companies have a predictable environment in which they can create jobs and fuel economic growth."
SB 3616 is effective immediately. The Governor will make stops today in Chicago, Rockford, Quad Cities, Peoria, Decatur and Mount Vernon to highlight the new law that will boost economic growth in communities across Illinois.
For more information on why Illinois is the right place for business, visit http://illinoisbiz.biz.