Landmarks Illinois Statement: Governor Signs RERZ Historic Tax Credit Extension

AuGUST 18, 2017

Landmarks Illinois applauds Governor Bruce Rauner for signing Senate Bill 1783, which extends the River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) Historic Tax Credit through 2021. Gov. Rauner signed the bill this afternoon in Aurora, one of the five Illinois communities that benefit from the RERZ Historic Tax Credit.

Landmarks Illinois has long advocated for extending the RERZ tax credit – a vital economic development tool that has fostered the reuse of historic buildings throughout the state. Since the RERZ Historic Tax Credit took effect in 2009, it has resulted in $82.1 million in private investment in the Illinois river cities of Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Peoria and Rockford.

The RERZ Historic Tax Credit was set to expire at the end of 2017. Landmarks Illinois has joined with local advocates, elected officials and city staff, nonprofit partners, including AIA Illinois, and lobbyists to ensure the RERZ Historic Tax Credit continues in Illinois. Landmarks Illinois has provided two economic impact studies showing the benefits of the tax credit and hosted eight regional workshops in conjunction with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. We have also met with legislators, written letters of support and testified in Springfield and Chicago on behalf of bills calling to extend the historic tax credit.

Approximately 30 historic preservation projects are eligible for the RERZ Historic Tax Credit, which can be applied to income-producing properties and allows for a credit on state income taxes equal to 25 percent of the qualified costs of the historic rehabilitation project.

“Having helped developers, property owners and elected officials revitalize vacant and underutilized properties for almost 20 years, I have seen that a state historic tax credit, paired with the federal version, is an imperative tool,” Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald said at a House Revenue & Finance Committee subject matter hearing in Chicago this past April. “It ensures we are regionally competitive and the jobs created are local; they cannot be outsourced. Plus, because preservation is more labor-intensive than material-intensive, it puts more people back to work in Illinois.”

Landmarks Illinois is pleased this vital tax credit will remain in place through 2021. As it has in past years, we believe the RERZ Historic Tax Credit will continue to revitalize neighborhoods and downtown areas in Illinois’ river cities, transforming once vacant and underperforming properties into spaces the community can be proud of once again.


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