Rep. Riley fights for economic development program

       State Representative Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields, is fighting to obtain more funding to promote economic and community development.

      State Representative Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields, sponsored a bill to secure $1.5 million in funding for the Cook County Tax Reactivation Project. The program helps municipalities acquire clear title to abandoned or tax-delinquent properties through the No Cash Bid process. The acquired parcels can then return to the tax rolls after effective marketing of the sites for commercial, industrial or residential development.

       Riley successfully passed the Tax Reactivation Project bill out of the House of Representatives.  The measure is presently in the Senate Rules Committee.  “During my prior service as a local elected official, I actually saw the Tax Reactivation program at work—revitalizing abandoned properties in different communities,” Riley said. “The program helped to transform entire neighborhoods and got blighted properties back on the tax rolls. This bill will assist in helping communities flourish instead of decline. It’s an essential community and economic development tool that we need, especially in the Southland.”

Riley said that when he found out the Tax Reactivation Project might not be renewed after its planned 2008 sunset date, he "worked on this bill with tunnel vision, trying to beat the filing deadline.”

        Manny Hoffman, community relations director for the Cook County Tax Reactiviation Project, said the passage of this bill "will mean communities in the south suburban area will have an instrument to allow them the funding they need to take empty parcels of land and turn them into completed parcels of taxable land for the community to use.  Rep. Riley has worked behind the scenes with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to get teh present bill to where it is today." 

       Cook County Assessor James Houlihan thanked Rep. Riley and south suburban legislators "for their continued hard work in trying to secure the critical funding needed for the continuation of the Cook County Reactivation Project.  This project has resulted in delinquent properties being purchased, marketed and sold to responsible owners.  It has not only contributed to the local tax base in many areas of the county, but has also brought much needed jobs and renewed sense of enthusiasm and pride back to communities."

       The Tax Reactivation Project, created in 2000, was originally intended to promote economic development for south suburban Cook County. Because of its success, it was expanded to include all of Cook County in 2006.




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