Can GOP rise to the task?

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Local legislators and economic development officials agree enterprise zones are a valuable tool to attract and retain business.

The zones are in jeopardy of expiring unless the Illinois General Assembly acts.

State Sen. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, said something dire concerning enterprise zones just may come up. LaHood said he is supportive, but hears Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan is not.  

“In the Senate, I think, it will pass by a large majority,” LaHood said. “There could be a problem in the House. I’ve heard Madigan wants to let them all expire and then turn it into a lottery.”

The Central Illinois Regional Chamber Legislative Effort, also known as CIRCLE, in a position paper, said, local chambers of commerce support a 20-year extension of enterprise zones and reject proposed mandates that the prevailing wage must be paid for projects within an enterprise zone. The CIRCLE paper said in the next five years nearly two-thirds (61 of the 97 zones in Illinois) are scheduled to expire.

“Enterprise zones work. Over the past 10 years, $29.4 billion in private investment has occurred in enterprise zones. Additionally, 347,266 jobs have been created or retained in the same time period,” the CIRCLE paper said.