ROCKFORD – Governor Quinn today signed legislation that will help Winnebago County and its municipalities expand its regional athletic facilities. According to the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the new law will increase visitor spending by $16 million, create more than 400 new jobs, and generate $1.9 million in new tax revenue. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive the Rockford-area economy forward.
“Winnebago County is a booming and bustling part of our state, and this new law will help ensure the area continues to thrive,” Governor Quinn said. “I commend everyone who worked hard to pass this important legislation that will help Rockford compete for sporting events in the Midwest.”
Sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and State Representative Chuck Jefferson (D-Rockford), Senate Bill 1859 amends the Counties Code by permitting Winnebago County - with the consent of 67 percent of municipalities within the county - to impose an up to two percent tax on hotels. The bill also establishes a Tourism Facility Board charged with overseeing the revenues derived from the tax proceeds and complying with all rules.
The new law was supported by the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“This new law will help make Rockford the amateur sports tournament capital of the Midwest and to stay competitive with surrounding states that already have started construction on their sports facilities,” Senator Stadelman said. “Since 2007, Rockford’s amateur sports tournaments have dropped 11 percent annually, resulting in $1.4 million loss for the region each year, so this new revenue source for the project is coming at the right time to reverse this trend and improve our local economy.”
“Rockford is known for Sportscore, and for being a leader in hosting youth sports tournaments,” Representative Jefferson said. “This new law will give local entities the authority to move forward on plans to increase the success of these events and to help generate more dollars for our community. This collaborative effort of many Winnebago County stakeholders aims to boost Rockford’s assets and put people back to work.”
Revenue generated will help finance an upgrade and expansion of Sportscore Two and the Indoor Sports Center in Loves Park. In turn, Rockford and Loves Park could play host to many more sports tournaments, which will pump millions of dollars back into the local economy.
The new law is effective immediately.