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Enterprise Zones For Depressed Areas Set To Start Expiring

Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — What has been called one of the greatest economic tools available in Illinois will disappear unless lawmakers take action.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, enterprise zones were put in place 30 years ago as means to encourage businesses to locate in economically depressed areas of the state. They start expiring in 2013.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman eports

Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, says the zones encompass local and state incentives which are offset through development.

“The whole goal is to grow private industry,” Denzler said. “As we grow jobs and we put people back to work, the state can get more money from those companies and those individuals because they buy houses, they eat in restaurants, they go out and buy cars.”

A measure before lawmakers would extend the life of all enterprise zones by 25 years, and would authorize 10 new zones. It would also allow them to grow from between 12 and 15 square miles to between 18 and 20 square miles.

The measure before lawmakers is SB 3688.