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Barickman Calls for Vote on Enterprise Zone Extension Legislation

House Democrats refuse to allow vote on legislation

Springfield, IL…State Representative Jason Barickman (R-Champaign) said that the House must act on legislation that will extend the life of current enterprise zones, which will begin to expire in the coming years, or face significant problems that will result due to the loss of this proven economic development tool.

“There are around 100 enterprise zones throughout Illinois.  These are proven economic development tools we have at our disposal to attract and retain jobs,” said Rep. Barickman.  “Since the creation of enterprise zones over 700,000 jobs have been created or retained within the areas.  Around $33 billion dollars has been invested by tens of thousands of businesses within the zones.  If the extension is not approved in the near future Illinois will take a significant step backwards and risk the loss of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in investments.”

Enterprise zones are economic development tools which allow businesses located in designated regions to receive specified incentives. Businesses located within the zones can receive a number of benefits, such as a $500 tax credit for each new job created or a sales tax exemption for machinery and building supplies.  In order to maintain these incentives businesses must meet specified requirements for job creation and retention, as well as capital and infrastructure investments.

Senate Bill 3688, co-sponsored by Barickman, would extend enterprise zones for 25 years, create 10 new zones, and put in place additional accountability measures for the areas.  The legislation has passed the Illinois Senate and is currently being held in the House Rules Committee.

The Enterprise Zone Act of 1982 created 89 standard enterprise zones, with eight additional zones created by special legislation.  Because the individual enterprise zones were only given a 30 year lifespan, many are nearing their expiration date.  A few enterprise zones within the 105th District will expire over the next couple of years, including Urbana (December 2015) and Champaign/Champaign County (December 2016).  A number of enterprise zones in close proximity to the area are also facing expiration, including Streator (December 2014) and Danville/Tilton/Vermilion County (December 2014).

“There was strong support from members of both parties in the Senate to extend proven enterprise zones, but House Democrats have stalled the measure and refused to let it be called for a vote,” Barickman said.  “Employers who are looking to locate in existing enterprise zones and those who are already there need assurances and a level of predictability.  If not, they very likely could take their jobs and revenue elsewhere.”