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