Saturday, February 9, 2019

Four counties set to vote
on sales tax for schools

Four counties in Illinois will be voting on countywide sales tax questions to benefit school facilities in the April 2 general election. A total of 54 counties in the state already have adopted a countywide sales tax benefitting school facilities. Set to decide on such proposals for schools are voters in the counties of Effingham, Fayette, Tazewell, and Union.

The sales tax referendum, when adopted, imposes up to a 1 percent sales tax on everything the county taxes, but does not impose any tax on goods or services that are not already subject to sales taxes.

Goods and services that are not subject to the additional tax include cars, trucks, ATVs, boats and RVs; mobile homes, unprepared food, drugs, farm equipment and parts.

For many school districts, the funding provided by the county school sales tax for school facilities may be the best way to raise funds for school construction, repair, and maintenance.

Such a referendum qualifies for the ballot when school boards representing more than 50 percent of the resident student enrollment in the county adopt a resolution to certify the question. But timing is important because it takes about a year for districts to receive any funds as the state revenue department only changes the tax rates for counties twice a year, on January 1 and July 1.

It takes about four months after the county tax goes into effect for funds to be distributed from the state through the regional office of education to local schools. A simple majority of votes cast in the county is needed to approve the referendum.

Results of the April referendum will be reported in this blog.