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CCFB News» December 2022

Grocery Store Property Tax Incentive Approved by County Board

12/07/2022 @ 3:35 pm

In November, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved Ordinance 22-5345 to create a Class 7d property tax incentive to spur and support the establishment or expansion of grocery stores in food deserts.


Earlier this year, Farm Bureau advanced a policy position to increase food access in Cook County and Illinois.  A copy of the policy is provided below.


Joining Cook County Farm Bureau in support of this ordinance was Chicago Food Policy Action Council, City of Palos Hills, Illinois Realtors, Midwest Independent Realtors Association, Neighborhood Network Blue Island and Robbins, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, Village of Chicago Ridge, Village of Oak Lawn, Village of Park Forest, Village of South Chicago Heights, and the Village of Thornton.


Farm Bureau extends its appreciation to the ordinance sponsors and supporters.


Food Access


Food insecurity occurs when food is either too distant or too expensive to purchase.  A food desert is one type of food insecurity.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as any census tract where at least 20 percent of the inhabitants are below the poverty line and 33 percent live over a mile or in rural areas more than 10 miles from the nearest supermarket.  


We support:

  1. Incentives, including but not limited to, offering tax credits or breaks to grocery stores in underserved areas.
  2. Policy development to support grocery stores and neighborhood-based farmers markets.
  3. Simplifying the process for permitting and launching grocery stores.
  4. Programs to encourage heathy eating, food preparation, and proper food storage.
  5. Partnering with the community when selecting food desert measurements, policies, and interventions.  
  6. Increasing the use of third-party and digital platforms for all approved Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) retailers providing that benefits are not used for service fees or delivery charges.
  7. Increasing SNAP approved food sales outlets.
  8. Food insecurity networks, like food banks, non-profit grocers, and produce carts.
  9. Farmer cooperatives to provide services such as crop marketing, distribution, guidance on partnering with food banks, and farmer training.
  10. The aggregation of farm products and partners to connect institutions, municipalities, school districts, hospitals, community-based organization, government agencies, and other groups to provide produce to families living in food deserts.
  11. Farms connecting directly with food banks, food recovery organizations, and other distributing nonprofits.
  12. Expanding the existing tax deduction for food donations to non-profits.
  13. Simplifying food pantry partnerships, expansions, and new development.

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