Two Illinois Congressmen Support Federal Fire Sprinkler Legislation That Can Benefit Chicago High-Rise Owners

Apr 23, 2008, 01:00 ET from Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board

    ORLAND PARK, Ill., April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing that financial
 incentives are key to the success of infrastructure improvements, two
 Illinois Congressmen have recently added their names to the growing list of
 co-sponsors of H. R. 1742, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of
 1986 to classify automatic fire sprinkler systems as a five-year property
 for purposes of depreciation. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (IL-4) became a
 co-sponsor of the bill April 9th; Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (IL-2) signed
 on April 15th.
     The proposed legislation would serve as a valuable national incentive
 for property owners because it will reduce the tax depreciation time for
 retrofitting sprinklers from 39 years to only five while significantly
 increasing the safety of the building. Owners of high-rise buildings
 located in Chicago, that were built before 1975 when fire sprinkler systems
 were required, could experience the benefits. According to the Chicago Fire
 Sprinkler Substitute Ordinance, these building owners must follow a
 three-phase timeline to retrofit their buildings. The deadline for the
 first phase is the end of this year when one-third of each high-rise
 building must be retrofit with fire sprinklers. All buildings must be 100%
 complete by 2017.
     "This innovative tax incentive is a sound way to steadily increase the
 state-of-the-art in fire protection, effectively enhancing the safety of
 millions of occupants," said Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory
 Board (NIFSAB) executive director Tom Lia.
     "Beyond life safety which is paramount, each time a structure is
 improved with fire sprinklers, the economy is also strengthened by added
 property protection," Lia added. "When fires strike, they wreak havoc on
 business and production, and put employees out of work. Fire sprinkler
 systems protect buildings because they reduce smoke and fire damage and
 prevent deadly flashover. H.R. 1742 offers not just a tax incentive; it is
 also an economic stimulus bill."
     The Illinois Congressmen join 126 cosponsors, including six others from
 the state: Representatives Rahm Emanuel (IL-5), Timothy V. Johnson (IL-15),
 Peter J. Roskam (IL-6), Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-9), John Shimkus (IL-19),
 and Jerry Weller (IL-11). H.R. 1742 was referred to the House Committee on
 Ways and Means March 28. A companion bill, S582, has been referred to the
 Committee on Finance.

SOURCE Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board