A new economic tool that has the capacity to stretch across nine Illinois counties will give businesses tax incentives to create new jobs.
In what could become the largest of its kind in Illinois, a new enterprise zone was certified in LaSalle County. While it’s currently only in LaSalle and neighboring Kendall County, it could stretch from Lake County, in the northeast corner of the state, all the way to Grundy County and Bureau County.
These zones give businesses in their borders breaks on multiple types of taxes and regulations as an incentive to expand or build a new location there.
State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, says the enterprise zone will be a major draw for new jobs.
“This enterprise zone is a locally driven tool that provides financial incentives for companies who are looking to create new jobs,” Rezin said. “When they’re looking to invest, they look to see where the enterprise zones are.”
Occasionally, enterprise zones have been set up to benefit politically connected businesses, giving them a bad reputation for cronyism. The new zone is managed by the Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority. Director Andrew Hamilton says it’s open for all to apply.
“Anyone who has plans for expansion can apply for benefits under the enterprise zone,” he said.
Enterprise zones differ from tax-increment financing districts in that TIFs create funds for specific projects using withheld tax dollars, whereas enterprise zones simply cut taxes and lower the regulatory burden of a business in order to spur growth.
There are more than 100 enterprise zones throughout the state of Illinois, giving breaks on corporate, sales, utility, and even property taxes, which are some of the highest in the nation. Chicago has multiple enterprise zones spanning much of the city.