Thursday, May 17, 2012
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State angling to take a big chunk of city coffers

Call to citizens to contact legislators

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[May 17, 2012]  At Tuesday evening's committee of the whole meeting of the Lincoln City Council, Mayor Keith Snyder and Chuck Conzo, city treasurer, talked about another blow the state of Illinois may deliver to municipalities.

Snyder said that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has introduced House Bill 3637, which would eliminate payments to municipalities from the corporate personal property tax collected by the state.

Snyder said the plan was to take the money away from municipalities statewide and give it to the state's Teachers' Retirement System.

If this were to pass, Conzo has estimated it will cost the city of Lincoln approximately $247,000 in revenues.

Conzo offered a little history on the tax, which is more commonly called "replacement tax."

Up until 1970, businesses and public utilities were required to pay property taxes to the county. However, in 1970 the state did away with that requirement and established the replacement tax.

With the replacement tax, the businesses pay a tax to the state, and the state in turn pays a portion of the tax to municipalities.

The payments issued by the state are required to be used in a certain manner. The first 50 percent has to go to the city's fire and police pension funds. The other half can go into the general fund for the city.

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Conzo said that in the last fiscal year the city had received $305,000 in replacement tax. The year before, it received $341,000. This year he has estimated the receipts at $246,000 because, among other things, this is the tax that was reduced last year so the state could pay the regional superintendents of schools.

Snyder said if this bill passes, it will leave a large hole in the city's budget, and the council will have to make some "significant changes" in the spending plans for the new fiscal year.

He said what needs to be done right away is for everyone to contact their local legislators and express to them that this bill should not be passed.

Anyone wishing to support Snyder's request can find addresses for state legislators here:


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