CHICAGO - Illinois State Rep. Timothy L. Schmitz has introduced a bill that could save the state’s high-rise building owners the cost of retrofitting their buildings with fire sprinkler systems. In early November Schmitz introduced HB3881 that would amend the Illinois Income Tax Act providing for a deduction, beginning with taxable years ending on or after Dec. 31, 2004, of an amount equal to the actual cost to retrofit a building owned by the taxpayer with a fire sprinkler system.
“We applaud Rep. Schmitz for introducing this bill,” said Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. “If passed, this is just one more step in the right direction to help building owners with the economic package to install fire sprinkler systems in residential high-rise buildings.”
According to the Chicago High-Rise Commission Report, another financial incentive is use of city of Chicago tax increment financing revenues for sprinkler retrofits. Many of the high-rises in Chicago are in the downtown district. The commission’s research into the state law authorizing creation of TIF districts confirms that the city can use TIF revenues to fund sprinkler installation in renovated buildings.
Financial incentives such as Schmitz’s bill and Chicago’s TIF districts are good reasons to support ordinances requiring high-rise buildings to be retrofit with fire sprinkler systems, Lia said.
He added that fire sprinklers would have prevented the six deaths that occurred on Oct. 17 at the Cook County Administration Building (“Sprinkler ordinance gains momentum,” Nov. pg. 1).