SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois State Senate today unanimously passed legislation aimed at ensuring the long-term viability for enterprise zones, a key part of Illinois’ economic engine.

State Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), a cosponsor of Senate Bill 3688, says it will send a strong signal that Illinois is moving toward business-friendly approach to economic development.

“Enterprise zones are one of the few areas of economic policy Illinois state government has gotten right over the years,” Althoff said. “Thanks to them, we’ve added hundreds of thousands of jobs to our economy and tens of billions of dollars of new economic growth. Enhancing and renewing enterprise zones can play a key part in getting Illinois out of its current economic stagnation and bringing high quality jobs back to our state.”

The Senate’s vote for Senate Bill 3688 signaled the strong support for enterprise zones Althoff and many other supporters hope will carry over into the bill being approved by the House and governor this spring. Senate approval of the bill comes after weeks of hearings around the state where Althoff and other lawmakers listened to business and community leaders stress the importance of enterprise zones to the Illinois economy.

According to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, more than 900,000 jobs and nearly $50 billion resulted from these zones since their creation 30 years ago. Last year alone, enterprise zones saw more than 24,000 jobs created and retained and $2.5 billion in investments. Senate Bill 3688 extends the length of the zones by 25 years, allows for targeted expansions of 10 new zones over the next decade and calls for increased transparency and accountability for these zones.

With a few of the nearly 100 enterprise zones around the state set to expire starting next year, Althoff explained they felt they needed to act now to send the message that these zones should be here and supported by our state for the long term.

“Enterprise zones provide the path to success that we all want to see in our economy,” Althoff said. “After an extensive, bipartisan effort to hear from Illinoisans about the value of these zones, we can proudly say this bill is the right approach for our state and we encourage the House to take this up right away.”

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