Illinois BIO Gets OK for Start-up Incentives

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The Illinois General Assembly has passed—with overwhelming bipartisan support—an Angel Tax Credit that incentivizes early-stage investment in Illinois technology companies. The governor is expected to sign the bill (SB 2093) or a second measure (SB 3710) with an identical Angel Tax Credit sent over to the Senate yesterday by the House.

The legislation, which when enacted will be effective on January 1, 2011, provides “angel” and early-stage institutional investors with a capped 25 percent credit against state taxes when the investors provide funding to small, early-stage technology firms.

The effort to enact the credit was led statewide over a two-year period by the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (iBIO), which built a large statewide coalition in support of the measure. iBIO’s President and CEO David Miller hailed the bill’s passage as a major step forward. “Today’s most powerful job engines are small innovative firms. Yesterday Illinois took a huge step in helping to create and attract those companies,” he said. “It’s great news for our economic recovery and for the future of Illinois.”

The Kauffman Foundation, National Academies of Science, Brookings Institute and others have identified small innovative companies as the keys to global competitiveness and job creation, identifying them as major drivers of tax revenues and needed public services. Although Illinois is a leading state for many types of basic research, it has lagged other states in providing supportive programs for early-stage technology firms. “The Angel Tax Credit constitutes a big step in changing that situation,” Miller said. “The sleeping giant is waking up.”

Miller praised members of the state General Assembly. Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) authored the bill that passed and pushed relentlessly for its passage. According to Miller,“Senator Kotowski deserves great credit and the community’s heartfelt thanks.”

The primary legislative champion for the Angel Tax Credit and other startup programs in the General Assembly over the last two years, Miller said, was Rep. Susana Mendoza (D-Chicago). “Rep. Mendoza is an inexhaustible champion for building jobs and prosperity in Illinois,” Miller said. “She created a remarkable coalition of advocates in the House and worked with the leadership, other legislators and Governor Quinn’s office to make this happen. Illinois’ innovation community couldn’t ask for a better supporter.”

“To make important changes in state policy, you need tireless leadership. iBIO provided that leadership. Without iBIO’s unflagging devotion to the twin causes of technology startups and job creation, this never would have happened. Illinois is a better place to do business today because of iBIO,” responded Rep. Mendoza.

According to House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), “The House Leadership recognizes the importance of technology’s role in creating high-paying jobs in Illinois. Passage of this bill is a signal to the world that our state intends to translate its world-class research into a world-class technology economy. Our thanks go to iBIO for leading this important effort.”

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