ON-AIR: Champaign residents can increase property taxes to help the poor

By Karis Morrall

As voters hit the ballots on November seventh, residents of Champaign will decide whether to raise their property taxes to provide assistance to the poor. Township supervisor Linda Abernathy says passing the referendum is crucial.

“I just want to encourage people to get out and vote yes. It’s a small thing to do to be able to share and to make sure that those who are literally the poorest of the poor will be able to survive until they can make their way out of the crisis.”

The referendum raises property taxes by less than one percent. It will provide health care and give financial assistance to residents of Champaign who earn less than 212 dollars per month.

Township tax levies were lowered in the nineteen-seventies. However, Linda Abernathy says that, as need for assistance increase, voters need to restore an adequate tax levy.

“The only way that you can ask to increase is through a referendum. In 2005, the township had been serving only five to seven clients a month. In 2005, that increased somewhere between 86 and 110 clients a month. That actually drew down the last bit of reserves that the township had.”

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If passed, the referendum for township assistance will cost the owner of a 150 thousand dollar home an additional $22.59 per year. Champaign currently has one of the lowest general assistance tax levies among townships in Illinois.