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Long signs on to Blue Collars Jobs Act

State Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator
State Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator

A house bill was introduced to incentivize construction projects in Illinois and create jobs.

State Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator, signed on as a co-sponsor.

The Blue Collar Jobs Act, House Bill 5864, is supported by both labor and business groups and offers tax incentives to companies making significant capital improvements in Illinois based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers.

The act does this through the creation of four new tax credits: high impact business construction jobs credit, enterprise zone construction jobs credit, new construction EDGE credit and River Edge construction jobs credit.

“Our biggest asset here in Illinois is our highly-skilled labor force,” Long said in a press statement. “If we want to send the message that Illinois is open for business, then we need to put our construction workers to work. That is the goal of this legislation; to create good paying jobs.”

The program will work under the same structure as the current EDGE program: Tax credit value is 50 percent of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement.

The tax credit value rises to 75 percent of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement in areas designated to be in an underserved area that meets certain poverty, unemployment and federal assistance rates.

The tax credit is issued to the organization that builds, renovates or expands the building just as the EDGE tax credit goes to the company hiring the workers.

The tax credit is meant to incentivize the company to construct new buildings or improve existing buildings that can’t be built without the use of Illinois labor.

“The Blue Collar Jobs Act gives growing businesses another reason to make substantial capital investments in Illinois to bring more jobs and opportunities to our state,” said Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

The tax credits only become available after the work has been fully completed. There is no risk to the state for a company not meeting its requirement as the state has already captured the withholding tax prior to the tax credit being issued, according to Long’s press release.

The bill is waiting to be assigned to committee.

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