Below are several questions and
information of key importance to help you understand why the
increase is being asked for and the potential impact if it is not
First, how much sales tax are we
paying and how much would it become?
approved, the proposed one-half percent "retailers occupational
sales tax" would:
- Raise the sales tax in the
smaller towns from 6.25 percent to 6.75 percent.
- Raise the sales tax in Lincoln
from 6.75 percent to 7.25 percent.
It increases a nickel on every $10
and 50 cents on every $100.
How do our rates compare to other
rates around us:
- Peoria, 8 percent
- Springfield, 7.75 percent
- Bloomington, 7.50 percent
- Champaign, 7.50 percent
- Clinton, 6.75 percent
rates in communities like us:
- Marion, 7.25 percent
- Carbondale, 7.25 percent
- Quincy, 7.75 percent
With one exception, Clinton, the
increase would raise us to the lowest level of any of the other
Just why would this county need to
look for increased revenues?
Like other counties and communities
in Illinois and across the nation, costs are going up faster than
revenues. There are increased state demands and reduced state
Nearby Peoria County Board chairman
wrote in their 2005 budget brief: "The examination of our services
continues as expenses grow faster than our revenue base. Also, state
budget cuts forced us to look at whether we could afford to offer
many services at the level we have historically."
Peoria, Logan County has been hard-hit with uncontrollable cost
increases. Several are exorbitant. One of the more extreme examples
has been the increased liability insurance costs. Since 9/11,
liability for government has skyrocketed.
July 15 to July 15:
In a four-year time span, liability
insurance went up nearly 400 percent.
Health insurance is a similar story.
In 1992 the cost was $185 per employee. For 2004 the cost was $303,
a 64 percent increase.
The county has 150 employees on
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county financial pie shows that funds are distributed in the
- 30 percent -- general government
- 65 percent -- public safety and
- 4 percent -- county development
- 1 percent -- transfers
What has the county done up to now?
The board has been working with all
the departments for as long as this trend has been taking place --
about three years. They asked all the departments to look for ways
to increase revenue and cut expenses.
All of the departments complied.
Some raised or instituted fines and fees; some put off projects
temporarily, such as road work. The effects of these cutbacks were
not all that noticeable, but that is about to change.
Without the funds this tax can
supply, there will be a reduction of services in all departments
that will be noticed. For example, from the clerk's office there
will likely be fewer services and delays getting public documents.
This will affect many people and the court system. You may even have
to go to another county to get something like a passport, which is
an optional service that is provided, County Clerk Sally Litterly
said in her report to the finance committee in February.
The board and departments
deliberated hard in forming the last two years' budgets. Outside
support services, such as the senior citizens, economic development
and tourism were closely considered for elimination. But they not
only affect the quality of life but are also key to future
solutions; and summed together they are not near enough to cover the
This brief space is not sufficient
to fully explain all that has been done or what would happen without
the additional revenue this tax can provide. The sales tax is even
collected from those passing through the area, further reducing the
burden on Logan County residents. Your county leaders see this as
the most equal means and least burdensome manner in raising revenues
to where they need to be.
It is up to you to decide.
Related past articles
Get the facts on public safety tax before
you go to the polls
March 22, 2005
Deputies under new contract
March 17, 2005
Is Logan County's future in economic development?
Feb. 18, 2005
County goat holds up financial planning
Feb. 16, 2005
County budget to start fiscal year on time
Nov. 23, 2004
Contested county budget barely passes
Nov. 19, 2004
Proposed county budget depletes health department reserves
Nov. 12, 2004
County deliberates over tough new budget
Oct. 20, 2004
Financial matters dominate discussions
Oct. 15, 2004
County audit results returned
July 21, 2004