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State officials review applications for enterprise zones

SPRINGFIELD — Officials say dozens of new applications for so-called enterprise zones in Illinois are under review.

Illinois law allows a limited number of zones each year that are aimed at improving conditions in economically depressed areas. Businesses there receive tax breaks, like an exemption for utility taxes.

The proposals are evaluated on several criteria, including a high vacancy rate of industrial or commercial buildings or being able to offer career skills programs at high schools.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said Wednesday that 67 applications have been submitted and 49 will be approved. State law says new zones get a 15-year term.

Many of the applications are from Chicago. Others include proposals from suburbs south of Chicago, and from Belleville and Champaign.