From the Illinois State Senate
State Senator Michael Frerichs, 52nd Legislative District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2012
Frerichs’ push to extend job-creation program succeeds
Champaign, IL- Illinois’ endangered Enterprise Zone Program, credited with creating nearly 900,000 jobs and generating nearly $50 billion in investments over the past 30 years, received a reprieve earlier today, largely due to the efforts of State Senator Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign).
“When I talk to the people in my district about their top concerns, I hear ‘jobs, jobs, jobs,’” Frerichs said. “The Enterprise Zone Program is all about jobs. If it had expired, we would have lost one of Illinois best, most proven job-creation tools.”
Enterprise Zones—specified geographic areas where businesses receive state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief, and improved government services—were set to begin expiring in 2013.
Frerichs led the effort to save Enterprise Zones by serving as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Enterprise Zone Extensions, which held four statewide public hearings, and by sponsoring the law extending the program.
“The Enterprise Zone Program extension law was the result of bringing together business leaders, mayors and other officials, and every other interest group that had a stake in this issue,” Frerichs said. “I truly believe that the best way to achieve results is by quietly working together with everyone involved, not with flashy press tours or shutting people out of meetings. Given that the governor seems pleased with the results of our work to extend Enterprise Zones, maybe he should start applying some of these lessons to his pension reform effort.”
The Enterprise Zone Program is one of the state’s most proven and successful economic development tools. Under the new law, 97 current Enterprise Zones in Illinois will be extended for another 25 years, and an additional five new zones will be created in the next two decades as the current River’s Edge Zones expire and those areas become Enterprise Zones. Communities will be able to compete for Enterprise Zones as current zones expire.