President’s Message for 2017

     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 Mark Williams 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 an employer has actually delivered what was 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.

Zones also benefit businesses of all types, sizes and ownership structures and represent a true partnership between local and state governments. Considering the available state tax exemptions and credits and the locally specific property tax abatements, many critical development incentives are in place ready to be utilized by job creators statewide without the red tape associated with many incentive programs.  When the bottom line counts, Illinois Enterprise Zones make a positive impact for all of our employers.

The working environment for Enterprise Zones is changing more now than ever.  Recently enacted legislation has developed a competitive application process that requires a community to devote a significant amount of resources to be considered for a zone.  Also, state agencies are beginning to require ongoing reporting of zone activity by the zone administrators.  The IEZA Board is closely engaged in these efforts, and we will work hard on behalf of our members to ensure their best interests are kept in mind.

Stay tuned for more communication from your Board and me, and stay involved with IEZA as we try to work with our partners to monitor upcoming changes.

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!

– Mike Van Mill, President IEZA