State Legislative Issues

New State Historic Tax Credit Underway

The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a state income-tax credit equal to 25% of a project’s Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures (QREs), not to exceed $3 million, to owners of certified historic structures who undertake certified rehabilitation projects.

The new statewide historic tax credit program took effect January 1, 2019. Landmarks Illinois, alongside preservation partners, spent over a decade advocating for this important incentive. The tax credit program is administered by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Illinois Department of Natural Resources. More information on the Illinois Historic Tax Credit Program is available on the SHPO website.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Capital Plan into Law

On June 28, 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker signed a $45 billion capital plan into law, titled Rebuild Illinois. As part of this capital plan, funds have been allocated for the following projects related to historic buildings:

  • $380 million for upgrades to the Illinois Capitol Complex
  • $122 million for the renovation of the Illinois State Armory (1936), Springfield, and other capital improvements
  • $1 million for repairs to the Macoupin County Courthouse (pictured)

Additional grant programs, such as $50 million to the Illinois Arts Council for capital grants to arts organizations for permanent improvements, are included in the bill but without information on criteria and project eligibility. Landmarks Illinois will monitor these programs to assist and promote projects which reinvest in historic places. Read the full legislation below.

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additional legislation

HB4054 – Rep. Michael Halpin (D-Rock Island) – this bill would increase the State Historic Tax Credit from $15 million per year to $45 million per year.

SB3745 – Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) – this bill would provide several technical fixes to the State Historic Tax Credit. It would not increase costs to the state, but would improve how the credit is leveraged.


A state historic rehabilitation tax credit is critical to create new jobs and leverage private investment in Illinois. Without this tax credit, Illinois risks losing hundreds of redevelopment, investment and job creation opportunities to neighboring states that do have this type of incentive, thereby slowing our overall economic recovery. In the fall of 2013, Landmarks Illinois released a study demonstrating the positive economic return a state historic tax credit would provide for communities and the state. Read the study: “Economic Development Opportunities from an Illinois Historic Tax Credit.”

Further Reading


The Cooperage 214 in Peoria one example of a historic preservation project in Illinois that used the RERZ Historic Tax Credit. The preservation project at the Cooperage 214 transformed a 27,000-square-foot cooperage factory in Peoria’s downtown warehouse district into attractive office space and 18 luxury apartments.

Before Restoration

After Restoration

Before Restoration

After Restoration

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