Sunday, March 22, 2015
Tax will turn Illinois into a retail desert, Vote NO
LAWRENCE BAY had this column in the March 22 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus matched against a column supporting the tax increase. (..... marks paragraph breaks.) For the third time Rock Island County voters face the same referendum to add another 1 percent to the sales tax. ..... Voters, in their wisdom, rejected this sales tax in 2009 and 2014 because it would make Rock Island County merchants less competitive and would harm our municipalities and the state of Illinois. ..... Voters also realized that our schools already receive what should be ample funding. Rock Island County schools have much higher expenditures per student than Scott County and yet our schools score poorer on the No Child Left Behind tests. ..... Proponents of the sales tax consistently misrepresent the arguments of those who oppose the sales tax referendum and insult the reasoning of those who vote NO. We are accused of being simplistically anti-taxation, of starving our schools, even of being unconcerned for the education of our children. ..... Proponents do not even try to answer our arguments against the school sales tax, possibly because they can't. ..... Proponents claim that money raised through this sales tax can only be used for facility construction and maintenance, and this is true. However, money currently in school budgets earmarked for facilities can now be used for salaries or other uses. It is called "displacement" and, even with this added tax burden, there may not be any additional money spent on facility improvement. Proponents do not address how this sales tax will harm Rock Island County and the state of Illinois. Currently, if you buy most items in Moline or Rock Island, out of every $100 spent the state of Illinois receives $6.25 in sales tax revenue and the city $1.25; plus the local merchant makes a profit to pay salaries and property taxes. ..... With the proposed additional 1 percent the total sales tax becomes 8.5 percent; 10 percent on liquor and prepared food. ...... Scott County has a flat 7 percent sales tax on most items. A RICo shopper would save $15 on every $1,000 purchase by buying in Scott County. This would mean the state of Illinois would lose $62.50 and our cities would lose $12.50; plus our merchants would have fewer sales, causing a possible loss of jobs and property taxes. ..... Meanwhile, even more RICo dollars would cross the river to help fund Iowa governments and schools. ..... Does anyone think that prudent shoppers won't go where taxes are lower? Count the Illinois license plates at the Sam's Club on Elmore, just to save a few dollars! How many more will go to Iowa to buy their furniture, yard equipment, electronics, appliances and other items to save $15 per $1,000? ..... How many will decide to do the majority of their shopping and dining in Iowa to save money? How will Illinois and our municipalities replace the lost sales taxes? And how many Illinois stores will close because of lost sales? How many jobs will be lost? ...... Proponents claim that property taxes will decrease. They offer a possible temporary reduction of $18.80 per year on an average $114,000 home. Henry County voters believed the promise of lower property taxes and now are stuck with that added sales tax, forever. ..... What happened? Henry County school boards raising the school property tax levy, 9.58 percent in Annawan costing an additional $53 per year on a $100,000 home! Meanwhile, sales tax revenues are way below projections: either the projections were inflated or consumers changed their buying habits due to higher sales taxes. ..... Rock Island County schools receive far more money per student than those in Scott County yet underperform. ..... Rock Island District 41 receives the most per student in the Quad Cities, $11,562 in the latest available figures yet scores 30.1 percent on reading and 25.9 percent on math. Davenport spends $1,300 less per student yet scores 70.7 percent on reading and 66 percent on math. All Rock Island County school districts score poorer on math and reading than any Scott County school. ..... We all want the best education possible for our children but this sales tax will do far more harm than good. It could help turn Rock Island County into a retail desert and cause Illinois governments to lose sales tax revenue. ..... We urge a vote of NO on April 7. For more information, visit voteno2tax.blogspot.com."