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Jobs Bills, Enterprise Zones Boost Illinois Employment

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Job figures released on Friday by the Labor Department show strong growth in July, as 163,000 new jobs were created nationwide. July’s gain comes after 80,000 new jobs were created in June and over 75,000 jobs in May. Since June of 2009, over 4 million jobs have been created nationwide.

July’s positive jobs report helped boost financial markets across the world, many of whom are looking for positive economic news in light of global uncertainties about the stability and growth of the European Union.

The positive jobs report comes on the heels of recently released data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, which showed June’s unemployment rate fell in 5 of Illinois’ metro areas, increased in only 1, and stayed essentially the same in 6 other metro areas. Illinois added 4,700 jobs in June, and has added over 140,500 jobs since January 2010. Particularly strong growth in the manufacturing sector has helped Illinois reduce its unemployment rate, as 21,500 new manufacturing jobs have been created in 2012 alone.

Senate Democrats have been committed to passing legislation creating jobs across Illinois during the 97th General Assembly.

Enterprise Zones

jobs-sidebarThis year, the Senate Democrats major jobs package was an extension of the highly successful Enterprise Zone Program, which has helped spur economic development across Illinois since the 1980’s, creating nearly 900,000 jobs and generating nearly $50 billion in private investments. The Illinois Enterprise Zone Program offers state and local tax breaks, regulatory relief, and improved governmental services to stimulate economic growth in economically depressed areas of the state. 

Before passing an extension of Illinois’ 97 Enterprise Zones, Senate President John Cullerton created a bi-partisan Senate Special Committee on Enterprise Zone Extensions to study the positive effects of these zones and potential solutions to ensure the state continued to reap the economic benefits in the years to come. The Committee traveled throughout the state, holding hearings in Carbondale, Rockford, Chicago, and Peoria, gathering input and suggestions from local business and community leaders.

Since 1984, over 354,000 jobs have been created in Enterprise Zones with another 536,000 jobs that have been retained. Business investment in these areas is nearly $50 billion and involves over 42,000 companies. Major manufacturers, who have recently added more and more jobs, particularly benefit from the Enterprise Zone Program.  

Creating good-paying jobs is key for Illinois to fully recover from the recent economic recession. Enterprise Zones have proven to be a successful job creation tool that local governments have used to revitalize neighborhoods while putting people to work.

Unemployment Insurance Reform

Senate Democrats passed a law that shores up the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and ensures Illinois receives additional federal funding for extended unemployment benefits. It also cuts businesses unemployment costs without reducing workers’ benefits.

Protecting Illinois Jobs Now!

Senate Democrats increased bond authorization by $1.61 billion to finance a portion of the Illinois Jobs Now! Capital construction program, which has already put tens of thousands of people to work repairing roads, bridges, and schools.

Continental Tire

Senate Democrats provided tax credits to Continental Tire in Southern Illinois to help them expand their business and hire new workers.

Bringing high tech companies to Illinois

Senate Democrats created the Technology Development Account II to allow the Treasurer to make investments that help attract, assist and retain technology businesses in Illinois.

Creating animation jobs

Senate Democrats passed a law that allows animated productions to claim the film tax credit, ensuring Illinois remains a competitive market for film production.

Investing in Illinois’ electric grid

Senate Democrats passed a law requiring electric companies to invest in modernizing their grids to prevent power outages and implement smart grid technologies, creating nearly 2,500 jobs. 

Preserving Illinois’ history

Senate Democrats created a historic tax credit for historic properties that are rehabilitated in River Edge Redevelopment Zones, creating construction jobs and protecting historic buildings and downtowns.

The Illiana Expressway

Senate Democrats continued the process of the construction of the Illiana Expressway, the first major east-west expressway to be built in Illinois in decades. 

Investing in the green jobs of the future

Senate Democrats have taken a lead role in helping the State of Illinois invest in good-paying green jobs that will employ people and protect the environment at the same time. They have refocused higher education on green technology research and training (HB 166), created Renewable Energy Production Districts to make it easier for communities to invest in green energy (HB 1487), created tax incentives to recycle asphalt shingles to be used to build roads (HB 1326), and have expanded the definition of renewable energy to include biogas (HB 1458) and waste-to-energy concepts (HB 4753).