Blue Collar Jobs Act Set to Become Law

Democrats and Republicans come together to pass plan supported by both business and labor, introduced by Rep. Keith Wheeler

Included in the package of state budget bills approved by the Illinois House of Representatives was the Blue Collar Jobs Act, introduced and championed by State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, to incentivize construction projects in the state of Illinois and create jobs for the middle class.

“Helping middle income families is a pretty common talking point for elected officials across the country,” said Rep. Wheeler. “While there are a lot of proposals that claim to do that, nothing helps the middle class more than creating good paying jobs. That’s precisely what the Blue Collar Jobs Act does. It sends a message that Illinois is open for business by putting our highly-skilled construction workers to work. It’s a win for the state of Illinois, Illinois businesses, Illinois construction workers and for the permanent workers that would be hired after a new facility is completed.”

The Blue Collar Jobs Act is supported by both labor and business groups and offers tax incentives to companies making significant capital improvements in Illinois based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers. It does this through the creation of four new tax credits, including:

  • High Impact Business construction jobs credit
  • Enterprise Zone construction jobs credit
  • New Construction EDGE Credit
  • River Edge construction jobs credit

The program will work under the same structure as the current EDGE program:

  • Tax credit value is 50% of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement;
  • Tax credit value rises to 75% of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement in areas designated to be in an underserved area that meets certain poverty, unemployment, and federal assistance rates;
  • Tax credit is issued to the organization that builds, renovates or expands the building just as the EDGE tax credit goes to the company hiring the workers. The tax credit is meant to incentivize the company to construct new buildings or improve existing buildings which can’t be built without the use of Illinois labor.

The tax credits only become available after the work has been fully completed. There is no risk to the state for a company not meeting its requirement as the state has already captured the withholding tax prior to the tax credit being issued.

The Blue Collar Jobs Act is set to become law on July 1.