CHICAGO -- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed two new laws Thursday that deal with disaster recovery and economic development.
One of the new laws tries to address the continuing recovery effort in Harrisburg, Illinois. On February 29th, a tornado swept through Harrisburg, damaging homes and businesses and created a need for some kind of aid.
Quinn originally tried to get aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) but was denied. The U.S. Small Business Administration approved Quinn’s request to declare the tornado destruction a “disaster”. Declaring it a “disaster” provides low-interest loans available to homeowners, renters and businesses for nine counties in the area.
"After a natural disaster, families need all the help we can give them, and we will continue to aid the people of Southern Illinois in their recovery" said Governor Quinn. "While nothing can replace what they lost, a break on their property taxes will relieve the financial burden of rebuilding their homes and their lives."
On Thursday, Quinn’s bill creates a new Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption. This will give tax relief for families who are rebuilding their homes. According to the new law, each county's chief assessor will establish the rules, timeframes and application deadlines for applying for the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption.
There are two standards that applicants must meet in order to get the exemption. The first standard is that the residential structure must be rebuilt within two years after the date of the tornado (February 29). Secondly, the total amount of square footage of the rebuilt residential structure may not be more than 110 percent of the square footage of the original residential structure just before the tornado.
The second law Quinn signed Thursday attempts to boost economic efforts in Southern Illinois. This new law expands the Southeastern Illinois Economic Development Authority’s amount of members. It also promotes industrial, commercial and residential development, as well as transportation and other services in Southeastern Illinois.
Both of these new laws go into effect immediately.