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March 17, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan's plan to level the economic development playing field and attract new, high-paying jobs to Illinois today unanimously passed the Senate Revenue Committee.

Senate Bill 40, which creates the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Tax Credit Act, now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

"This legislation will help Illinois attract and keep good jobs," Ryan said. "I applaud the action of the Senate Revenue Committee and look forward to the full Senate and House addressing this important issue soon."

The EDGE program is a new targeted tax incentive program that would provide tax credits for businesses that create new jobs and make capital investments in select regions of Illinois. The EDGE program is designed to help areas of Illinois that are in direct competition with other states for jobs and development.

Businesses creating new jobs would be able to claim a state income tax credit equal to a portion of the incremental income tax generated from new jobs created in Illinois. Provisions of the legislation assure that a company creates and/or retains new jobs prior to receiving any benefit from the tax inducement. Similar programs are currently available in Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.

Recent project sites lost to competition from bordering states with EDGE-type programs include: Granite City, 225 jobs with a $135 million investment gone to Indiana; Chicago, 100 jobs with a $20 million investment gone to Indiana; Elk Grove Village, 239 jobs with a $12.1 million investment gone to Kentucky; and Danville, 175 jobs with a $200 million investment gone to Indiana.

"Illinois' economic future is at stake," Ryan added. "We need to level the playing field to allow Illinois to compete more effectively with our neighboring states for business locations and expansions."

Governor Ryan first proposed the EDGE program last year as part of his economic development and job creation initiative. The legislation is an outgrowth of the Gubernatorial Transition Report presented to the Governor in January, which recommended that Illinois enact an economic development tax credit incentive program.

The legislation also directs the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) to prepare a five-year economic development strategy for Illinois. "For too long Illinois has been without a clear, long-term strategy for economic growth," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "This bill sets the criteria for the development of a blueprint for lasting prosperity."

Senate Bill 40 is sponsored by Senator Frank Watson, R-Greenville and Senator James Clayborne, D-East St. Louis.


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