SPRINGFIELD – In a major effort to help revitalize blighted areas in St. Clair County and spark economic renewal, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed House Bill 623. The legislation amends the property tax code and the Neighborhood Corporation Law to give local governments in St. Clair County the authority to establish neighborhood redevelopment commissions free from property tax rate increases. The property tax relief should help spur development in economically distressed areas such as East St. Louis.
“The East St. Louis area has been besieged by economic hardship and a shortage of opportunity for far too long. While there is no quick fix to the economic challenges this area faces, House Bill 623 empowers the community to begin the revitalization effort and plant the seeds of economic renewal. As sure as leaders such as Senator Clayborne, Representative Younge and I believe that St. Clair County can still be a place where people can live, work, and thrive, we believe that signing this bill today can act as the catalyst that sets those wheels of economic recovery and growth in motion,” Governor Blagojevich said.
Under HB 623, after approval of the governing body of a city, village, or incorporated town in St. Clair County, a neighborhood redevelopment corporation may have its property taxes abated for up to 10 years. The tax on the property—exclusive of improvements—may be imposed and collected, but will be frozen. After the 10 years have expired, the property taxes may be abated up to 50% for the next 15 years. After a period of not more than 25 years, tax abatements are eliminated. Abatement of property taxes will enable neighborhood re-development corporations to use additional funds for improvements.
HB 623 was sponsored by Representative Wyvetter Younge (D-East St. Louis) and Senator James Clayborne Jr. (D-East St. Louis).
“I do appreciate the Governor signing this bill,” said Rep. Younge. “It is important to the economic recovery of the Metro East area. Senator Clayborne should be complimented for developing the concept. I am pleased to have handled House Bill 623 in the House. I look forward to working with the Governor and municipalities to make it a reality.”
“The Governor is taking an innovative approach to economic development by looking at all avenues that impact business growth and job creation. The signing of this bill should pave the way for new development to begin in East St. Louis that hasn’t been possible in decades. Laying that important foundation is a major key to making business attraction and job creation much more viable in the near future,” Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin said.
HB 623 will take effect on June 1, 2005.