More tax increase explanation needed

By Charles Martin Jr.

Upon reading the article entitled “Student Senate opposes county sales tax increase” by Alissa Groeninger, I found that there were a few points about the sales tax increase that were not touched on fully or at all.

First, I need to correct a comment by Mr. Mills: property owners in Champaign may get a rebate from the tax. This potential rebate would be on the property tax paid by Champaign County residents. The rebate would equate to $45 for every $150,000 that your house is worth. The rebate was discussed by the Champaign County Board as a way to help sell the sales tax increase, but the rebate is not actually written into the referendum.

Now I can move on to how this money would actually be spent. The revenue from the sales tax increase would be used to pay off bonds and loans that schools in the district already have. These bonds and loans were obtained to finance building maintenance. The building maintenance that the bonds and loans paid for has already been completed. Thus, the revenue from the sales tax increase will not pay for any new building maintenance until the current bonds and loans are paid off.

In all of this no one has explained how much the sales tax increase is and what our current sales tax rate is. The sales tax increase equals an increase of 1 percent in the sales tax rate you will have to pay. This is the maximum increase allowed under the law, 55 ILCS 5/5-1006.7, passed by the Illinois state legislature and signed by our current governor. Our current county sales tax rate is 6.5 percent and the current total sales tax rate you pay is 7.75 percent. The difference between the county sales tax rate and the total sales tax rate arises from taxes imposed by municipalities. With the 1 percent sales tax increase the county sales tax rate would be 7.5 percent and the total sales tax rate you pay would be 8.75 percent. The increase would give Champaign County one of the highest county sales tax rates in the state. This means that you, the consumer, would have to pay more for goods here than in any of the surrounding counties, all of whose county sales tax rates are 6.25 percent. Since there is no sunset clause written into the referendum, this sales tax increase could potentially continue indefinitely.