The Illinois Enterprise Zone Board has announced its selections for new enterprise zones, and Effingham was not among the 49 approved zones. Earlier this year Effingham County and the City of Effingham formed an intergovernmental agreement to apply for the creation of a new zone. Effingham currently has an enterprise zone that will now expire at the end of 2018. Had Effingham been approved, the new zone would been active until at least 2031.
Effingham City Administrator Jim Arndt explained that the reason for Effingham not being selected was due to a provision within the rules. Arndt said Effingham graded very well, but their current enterprise zone prevented the renewal. All applications to renew current zones had to be within two years of expiring. Arndt said the City/County will likely reapply next year when the current zone is within two years of expiring.
The newly approved zones are set to begin next year, but that is currently in limbo because of the state’s lack of a budget. It was announced shortly after the zones were approved that Governor Rauner will not certify them until a budget is passed.
Enterprise Zones are designed as an incentive for economic development by attracting new businesses and helping existing businesses to expand. They create a real estate tax abatement of 7 years for industrial locations and three years for commercial buildings that are within the zone.