It is an honor to serve as President of the Illinois Enterprise Zone Association (IEZA). I’ve had the pleasure of working with the members of IEZA for many years at both the state and local levels. During that time, I have always been impressed with the passion IEZA members have shown in supporting Enterprise Zone issues and the commitment the organization‘s leaders have to the continuing education and training of not only its members, but also the employers and elected officials in our respective communities.
That passion is member driven and enhanced by a committed volunteer Board of Directors whose only goal is to keep all of the Illinois Enterprise Zones viable for the long term. I want to thank Past President Ben Wilson for his excellent work on behalf of the IEZA and the rest of the Board for their tireless commitment to the organization and Enterprise Zones throughout the State of Illinois.
In a time of shrinking state and local economic development budgets and elimination or reduction of many development tools, Enterprise Zones remain as the most effective tool in our arsenal. While many business incentives are theoretical and depend on employers to guess at how useful they will or will not be, Enterprise Zones only offer incentives when the investment is made as promised. That makes it one of the most stable, predictable, and accountable programs on the books in the State of Illinois. The benefits of Illinois Enterprise Zones represent Illinois’ premier economic development incentive, securing the creation and retention of thousands of jobs each year.
Another clear advantage of Enterprise Zones is how they help advance the growth of small and mid-sized businesses. Many incentive programs require capital expenditure and investment levels that far exceed the capacity of a typical small business. Enterprise Zones level the playing field for small and mid-sized businesses and allow them to access incentives that provide a critical boost to their ability to grow and compete.
The working environment for Enterprise Zones is changing more now than ever. The IEZA board closely monitors legislative and policy changes that could impact zones and their administration. It is important that decision makers at all levels of government understand how their actions and inactions can impact economic development and the growth of the economy. We will continue our close monitoring of these activities and engage in focused advocacy for Enterprise Zones.
Please contact me directly if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the organization or our efforts and thanks again for affording me the opportunity to serve as President of the IEZA!
Ryan McCrady, President IEZA