Expanded home improvement tax breaks coming to blighted neighborhoods

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois homeowners and investors in certain neighborhoods will soon be eligible for home improvement tax breaks.

Senate Bill 2936 passed the House on Thursday. The Illinois General Assembly is addressing urban decay by extending home remodeling tax breaks to homeowners and investors in blighted neighborhoods.

Right now, only newly built single-family homes and duplexes in those neighborhoods qualify for the tax break.

“It can result in savings of thousands of dollars, and this is over a ten year period. So, it’s going to be quite substantial,” said State Sen. Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills), who served as the Republican co-sponsor on the Senate side.

His counterpart, State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) initially sponsored the bill in January. He said the goal is remodeling homes in blighted neighborhoods will improve investment opportunities. In Peoria, those neighborhoods include the South Side, East Bluff, and North Side.

“Many of our older neighborhoods have a lot of rental properties in there. This would be an incentive for landlords to be able to upgrade and put some investment back into their houses,” he said.

John Kelly, an at-large city councilman at Peoria City Council, has worked on the bill with state legislators for the last five years. He said the passage of the bill is a ‘great day for Peoria.’

“It will probably start slowly, but over time, we should see substantial reinvestment in these neighborhoods, bringing more stability and livability, and a better quality of life to all the residents in those areas,” he said in a statement to WMBD.

On the House side, State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) and State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) were the co-sponsors of the bill, rounding out four Peoria-area lawmakers as the co-sponsors, and signifying the importance of the bill for the community.

“This legislation presents an opportunity to spur economic development and investment in our communities, particularly in older neighborhoods and areas that have experienced disinvestment,” said Spain. “I want to thank Peoria City Councilman John Kelly for his work over the past several years to make this legislation a reality. It would not have been possible without him.”

Stoller said the expanded tax breaks present a great opportunity for investors and homeowners like.

“Before this, that tax credit was only available if you bought or built a brand new home, new construction, and so this really broadens the appeal and allows it to apply to a vast number of rundown homes in our area,” he said. “But certainly, investors are going to be incentivized as well if they want to go in and fix up homes that perhaps are rental homes that they want to fix up. That’s exactly the kind of behavior that we want to encourage.”

Koehler applauded his colleagues for coming together in a bipartisan way for the benefit of the community.

“This was something that was important for Peoria and so there’s no partisan differences when you’re trying to help your local community, so this is a good bipartisan bill. I’m happy to have the support of all of us that represents this area,” he said.

The bill now heads to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk for his signature. Once signed, it goes into effect immediately.

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