One of the many unfortunate results of a tough economic recession is the sight of empty real estate, where there once was a business or shop.  Members of the Illinois General Assembly should be commended for crafting a new law that could prove to be helpful in addressing the problem of vacant storefronts and buildings.

Public Act 96-0755, which went into effect in August, allows any taxing district, upon a majority vote of its governing body, to abate any portion of property taxes if a new business first occupies a facility located on the property during the taxable year and the facility had been vacant for a period of at least 24 continuous months prior to being occupied by the business.  The legislation states that the abatement period cannot exceed two years and the aggregate amount of abated taxes for all taxing districts cannot exceed $4 million.

The legislation was deliberately limited but it could help spur some redevelopment and re-occupancy of properties.  This was the intention of state legislators and hopefully local officials will follow suit.  If more than one taxing district, say a school district and a municipality, agree to do an abatement, it could be a good incentive and just what is needed to help a business expand or start up in a new site.

REALTORS® who serve on local economic development councils or on planning commissions should keep this legislation in mind and “talk it up.”  Some municipalities are already starting to make use of it. Others may not even be aware of it.

The entire legislation can be viewed at

Find out about commercial resources available through IAR and NAR at and read a report about recent state legislative activity.