Southland Reactivation Act legislation passes—new tool to revitalize south suburban region
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Friday, April 8, 2022 Kristi DeLaurentiis (708) 922-4670
The Southland Reactivation Act, championed by State Representative Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) and State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex), passed the Illinois Senate today (Friday April 8th).
“This will help bring new business to the Southland by incentivizing the revitalization of commonly overlooked properties,” Joyce said. “This legislation is a major victory for our Southland community.”
The act would create a tax abatement incentive to property developers who purchase commercial and industrial property in the Southland. The bill targets commercial and industrial properties that have shown a clear pattern of economic stagnation or decline of real estate taxes as a result of depressed conditions. The property must be located in Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton or Worth Townships in Cook County.
“The Southland Reactivation Act is an exciting economic tool we can use to attract investment to our community,” DeLuca said. “By encouraging businesses to move into the area and create jobs, we’ll create an environment that expands the local tax base and drives down property tax costs on homeowners.”
Identified properties that meet qualifying criteria would be assessed at 50% of the last known equalized assessed value. For the first year a property is certified as a southland reactivation property, the aggregate tax bill liability for the property cannot exceed $100,000. Discounts on the liability would decrease gradually, but continue for a total of 12 years.
South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA), a council of government with 45 member municipalities representing nearly 750,000 residents, were strong advocates for the act and worked with lead sponsors DeLuca and Joyce to craft legislation that would get troubled properties across the Southland back in productive re-use. Said Kristi DeLaurentiis, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Executive Director, “South suburban municipalities are thrilled with the passage of the Southland Reactivation Act and look forward to having a new economic development tool in our toolkit to get tax exempt and long vacant commercial and industrial property back on the tax rolls.”
SSMMA President Bob Kolosh, Mayor of the Village of Thornton said, “This is a game changer for the South Suburbs. I’ve very optimistic that the development community will now start to look at the south suburbs much more favorably. We know our region has many assets and this new economic development tool gives us a leg up and is sure to bring in new investment, new jobs, economic recovery, and tax base growth benefitting everyone.”
“We all recognize the need to spur new investment within the south suburbs and to grow the tax base and local jobs in a sustainable manner. The “how” to get tax exempt properties back on the tax rolls which would help alleviate tax pressure on existing property owners and provide important revenue for schools and government services was the challenge,” said Mayor Rick Reinbold, Village of Richton Park. “This act will allow us to address blight and re-establish strong industrial and commercial properties throughout the south suburbs, something sorely needed.”
“This law will move us toward a more equitable future and a robust tax base for the Southland,” said Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi. “As it revitalizes the industrial hub of the Midwest, it will also mean lower property taxes for homeowners as the tax base expands.”
Joyce added, “It is the right bill at the right time for the Southland. This act can, and will, be transformative. I look forward to seeing results.”
The Southland Reactivation Act is contained in Senate Bill 3189. The legislation passed the Illinois Senate and now heads to the governor for further action.