A series of Senate hearings focused on a statewide review of Illinois’ enterprise zones kicked off in Carbondale March 15, while a half-billion-dollar state bond sale earlier in the week prompted words of caution from a major bond agency.

The bipartisan Special Senate Committee on Enterprise Zone Extensions met at Southern Illinois University’s Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, beginning the series of statewide hearings to evaluate the state’s enterprise zones. Enterprise zones are widely regarded as an effective economic development tool, with a proven record of creating jobs and spurring business investment by offering attractive tax incentives to employers.

Illinois has almost 100 enterprise zones, established 30 years ago to create jobs and spur economic growth. With several enterprise zones scheduled to expire in the coming year, lawmakers have begun reviewing the program.

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