Illinois may help communities along the Mississippi River save their historic buildings. State representative Mike Halpin from Rock Island is sponsoring a bill to make tax credits available for rehabilitating historic structures.
His bill would make a tax credit available of up to 25 per cent. One example of the benefits is Iowa where Halpin says a similar tax credit has been available since 2000.
"Between 2009 and 2014, in the state of Iowa there were projects totaling at least 621 million dollars. And the average annual tax credit was only 27 million. So you can do the math on what you invest in a given year and what you return in economic development."
Since 1976, a federal historic tax credit has resulted in billions of dollars worth of projects and thousands of new jobs.
Jason Gordon, vice president of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, says the chamber has been lobbying Illinois for this tax credit for several years. A study by the University of Illinois showed a 4 to 1 return.
"For every dollar you invest in this type of credit, the state gets back about 4 dollars - in terms of retail that's developed, new residents living in your downtown and historic areas, and the various shops and office space that are usually connected to projects like this."
Halpin's bill would make this historic tax credit available for 34 Illinois counties along and near the Mississippi River.
Representative Tony McCombie from Savanna is a co-sponsor.