Hearings continue about a bill that would support enterprise zone reforms and create 10 more enterprise zones in Illinois.   The Illinois enterprise zone program was created in 1982 to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization through a combination of state and local tax incentives and regulatory relief. Enterprise zones are set to expire beginning in 2013, but there’s an effort in the Illinois Senate to extend the program for another 25 years and create additional opportunities for cities to create enterprise zones.


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At a hearing in Chicago Thursday, several city officials from across the northern half of the state testified that without enterprise zones, some businesses located within their communities wouldn’t have located there in the first place. In some cases an enterprise zone may be the only tool a community has. “A lot of cases for us in the smaller areas, we don’t have very many economic development tools and very many retention tools and we’ve been able to utilize our enterprise zone, in some cases the only tool out smaller communities have, to retain businesses… and to attract new businesses,” said Ben Wilson of the North Central Illinois Council of Governments.   The sponsors of the bill hope to bring it up for a vote in when lawmakers are back in session.


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