Enterprise Zone 25 Year Extension Legislation Passes!

After nearly three years of discussion and negotiation, the Illinois
 General Assembly unanimously passed Enterprise Zone extension legislation
 last night.  Senate Bill 3616 will provide stable and predictable job
 creation and retention incentives for the long term, more transparency and
 performance reporting and revised qualification criteria which may give
 communities not currently designated as Enterprise Zones the chance to be
 considered for designation. It also gives communities with existing zones
 the opportunity to renew for up to 25 years.  The bill awaits Governor
 Quinn’s signature.

Championed by the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) with
 significant technical assistance and support provided by the Illinois
 Enterprise Zone Association (IEZA) and the Illinois Taxpayers Federation
 (IFT), 3616 was the culmination of months of work.  Employers of all sizes
 as well as media and local government leaders, Chambers of Commerce and
 Economic Development Organizations throughout the state helped promote the initiative as well, reaching out to their respective legislators.  *Mark Denzler of the IMA along with Tom Johnson of ITF should be commended for
 their diligence and determination in getting this passed.  Mark was the
 captain of the ship and did a great job of building consensus and keeping  things moving.*

At the legislative level, Senator Mike Frerichs (D-Urbana/Champaign) and
 Senator Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake) were exemplary leaders on the
 negotiating team in the upper chamber along with President John Cullerton,
 who made this a primary issue for the Senate this session, as well as  Minority Leader Christine Radogno.  *Senators Frerichs and Althoff made  the case for zones during the statewide Enterprise Zone Special Committee
 hearings and were instrumental in getting the message out about the
 importance of the program to the future of Illinois economic development  efforts.*

In the House, Representative John Bradley (D-Marion) and Representative
 David Harris (R- Mt.Prospect),  in addition to Speaker Mike Madigan, worked  well together to help that chamber reach concensus. * Representative Bradley in particular was instrumental in making sure the program met the
 needs of the our employers going forward while at the same time providing
 transparency and accountability to the taxpayers in these difficult financial times.*

IEZA Board
I also don’t want to forget the Board of Directors of the IEZA for their
 input during this process and all of you who contacted your legislators and
 community leaders to garner support for the program.  The extension could
 not have happended wthout everyone coming togther for the common cause.

Chamber and Caucus Group Staffs
And finally, I have to thank the unsung heroes of the effort to pass this
 bill.  The staffs of both chambers and all four caucus groups, as well as
 those from the Governor’s office, DCEO and Revenue. They did an amazing
 amount of work to bring all of the pieces together into the final bill,
 especially given all of the other things on their plates.  Little if
 anything can be accomplished at the Capital without the staffs and they
 deserve significant recognition.

In the coming months, the IEZA wll be working closely with DCEO and the
 Illinois Department of Revenue to design, test and communicate new zone
 operating procedures and revised application processes and very soon we
 will be forwarding information related to the details of the bill and key
 timelines to be aware of as Zone Administrators and community leaders.

Stay tuned, there’s lots more to come.

Craig Coil


 Illinois Enterprise Zone Association