Incentive programs for new and expanding businesses in NW Illinois.

Assisting growth-driven companies in obtaining various state and local investment incentives, Including Enterprise Zones, TIF Districts, HUB Zones, Industrial Revenue Bonds, New Market Tax Credits and the Illinois EDGE Program.

Enterprise Zone Program

The Illinois Enterprise Zone Act was signed into law on Dec. 7, 1982. 

The Illinois Enterprise Zone Program is designed to stimulate economic growth and neighborhood revitalization in economically depressed areas of the state through state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief and improved governmental services.  Businesses located or expanding in an Illinois enterprise zone may be eligible for the following state and local tax incentives:

The Whiteside Carroll Enterprise Zone

The Whiteside Carroll Enterprise Zone includes portions of Rock Falls, Sterling, Morrison, Fulton, Tampico, Prophetstown, Lyndon, Milledgeville, Mt. Carroll, Savanna and Thomson.

Our Enterprise Zone Program incentives, including property tax abatement and sales tax exemption on building materials, sets our communities apart from most other areas of the state.

Depending on the type of project, businesses may be eligible for state and local tax incentives, regulatory relief and improved government services. The program is a proven resource available to businesses to expand their operations and create and/or retain quality jobs in Whiteside and Carroll Counties. Businesses must finalize an Enterprise Zone agreement, agree to retain or create jobs and establish or expand a facility within an Enterprise Zone.

From 2004 to 2018 the Whiteside Carroll Enterprise Zone has fostered $337.8 million in investments, and helped create or retain more than 6,592 jobs.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts

TIFs allow local governments to restore deteriorating or economically depressed areas without raising taxes on local residents.

As a result of TIFs, new or existing businesses develop more jobs, more customers and more private investment. The jobs and additional investment mean more money for the community. Local governments, in turn, can use TIF funds to make necessary infrastructure improvements such as new roads or sewers without using general town revenue. Local municipalities administer their own TIF district programs. Municipalities with TIF districts include the Cites of Rock Falls, Sterling and Fulton.

Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit Program (EDGE)

The EDGE program provides an incentive to businesses to support job creation, capital investment and improve the standard of living for all Illinois residents.

The non-refundable corporate income tax credit is calculated as a percentage (not to exceed 100%) of the expected income tax withholdings of new jobs created in the state.

Tax credits are available to qualifying companies, equal to the amount of state income taxes withheld from the salaries of employees in newly created jobs. Non-refundable credits can be used against corporate income taxes to be paid.

Tax credits amounts are calculated on a case-by-case basis. EDGE credits are processed on an annual basis, for up to 10 years, based upon employment ramp-up plans outlined by the business and agreed to by the Department.

Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs)

Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) are an often overlooked but excellent financing option for small and medium-size manfacturing companies looking to grow or expand their operations. IRBs provide tax-exempt, long-term financing at rates that can be significantly lower than conventional financing, including construction and business loans.

The principal benefit of an IRB is its tax-exempt status. Companies may save as much as 22 percent in interest rate costs, because interest on these bonds is exempt from federal income taxes. IRBs also are available with fixed or variable-rate financing and are the most cost effective with issues of $2 million or more.

IRBs are available to manufacturing companies that make or process tangible products. The financing can be used for the purchase of new manufacturing equipment, construction of a new facility, expansion of an existing facility, or the acquisition of another company’s facility. IRBs’ term varies from five to 30 years, depending on the life of the assets; however, the bank amortization rate may be limited to 25 years.

Industrial Revenue Bonds are one of several low-cost financing options available to manufacturers that qualify. An experienced lender is a great source of detailed information about this option and others, including New Markets Tax Credits.

New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC)

Business owners serving economically distressed or underserved communities may take advantage of this program which offers below-market interest rates to grow operations and create jobs. 

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program is a federal income tax credit designed to stimulate private investment capital into projects in underserved markets.

The Whiteside County Economic Development Department works with experienced NMTC banks which participate as an equity investor and leverage lender in this locally managed federal program. Banks work with WCEDD serving low-income communities, to provide funding for qualified projects.

Advantage Illinois

Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the Advantage Illinois program is there to assist. By working with the state's banking community and venture capitalists, we'll help entrepreneurs and small businesses start up, expand and create new jobs at a faster rate.

Enhancing access to capital for Illinois businesses is a top priority. The Brookings Institution has noted that more than 95% of new jobs are derived from business expansion or start up activity.

Advantage Illinois is designed to accelerate investments and ease the credit crunch for small businesses, thanks to more than $78 million from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

There are two programs to spur institutional lending to small businesses -- the Participation Loan Program (PLP) and the Capital Access Program (CAP).

Participating lenders accept business applications on a rolling basis and use their own underwriting standards and loan processes. These lending institutions are welcome partners in the Advantage Illinois program.

Participation Loan Program (PLP)

With any PLP loan program, financial institutions identify potential opportunities for state participation:

Standard Participation Loan Program (PLP)

Designed to enable small businesses to obtain medium to long-term financing, in the form of term loans, to help grow and expand their businesses. Department participation is subordinated to the lender and has a "below market" interest rate.

Minority/Women/Disabled/Veteran-Owned Businesses

Similar to Standard PLP; however, the amount of financial support may range depending on loan term, MWDV majority control/ownership.

Revolving Line of Credit (RLOC PLP)

Similar to Standard PLP except in the form of a revolving line of credit. Maximum term is two years and further support requires reapplication.

PLP funding may be used for many purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Start-up costs
  • Working capital
  • Business procurement
  • Franchise fees
  • Equipment
  • Inventory
  • Purchase, construction, renovation or tenant improvements of an eligible place of business that is not for passive real estate investment purposes.

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