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Lincoln Daily News
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1 cent makes sense for Logan County

1% sales tax increase to provide better schools, strengthen communities and lower property taxes in county

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To the editor:

Community leaders, Logan County school superintendents and representatives of education, countywide, announce to the taxpayers, voters and community members a better way to fund schools. On April 5, voters will have the opportunity to choose a 1 percent sales tax to fund capital improvements and building maintenance projects in school buildings across Logan County. A "YES" vote for the sales tax is also a vote to lower property taxes and build a stronger educational system for Logan County.

"Before people go to the polls, it's important they understand exactly what they're voting for. A 'yes' vote is the only fair and logical choice to fund schools, as we work together to improve our community and the education that all of our children receive," says Stephen Rohrer, chair of the One Cent Makes Sense Committee. "This vote is important for the future of every school district in Logan County. Our unified effort is representative of the impact this vote has for all students in every school throughout the county."

A "yes" vote to pass the sales tax in April would generate over $1.8 million annually for education in Logan County. The funds would be distributed based on district enrollment. The sales tax would not apply to prescription drugs, vitamins, groceries, cars, farm equipment, boats or mobile homes. The money generated from the tax can only be designated for construction projects and building maintenance.

"Every school district in Logan County will utilize revenues from the sales tax differently, because individual districts' needs vary, but every school district will benefit," said Lincoln High School Superintendent Robert Bagby. "This allows some districts to use funds now for immediate projects required by the state's life safety and health needs, while other districts, like ours, will use the revenue to pay off existing debt, allowing them to lower property taxes for home or land owners."

This effort is a better way to fund schools. Because many of the schools in Logan County are in need of critical updates and renovations, future property tax increases are unavoidable otherwise. This vote allows people to choose a wider and fairer way to disperse those revenue demands to others, and not just to property owners. If the 1 percent sales tax is not imposed, property taxes will continue to be the only way to meet these needs, and in many districts, taxes will go up.

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"This initiative is about more than lower property taxes: It's about creating a healthier environment for Logan County by investing in education, keeping jobs, and positioning our communities to attract and retain businesses and families," said Todd Cyrulik, a Mount Pulaski resident and member of the One Cent Makes Sense Committee. "For Logan County to remain competitive with our neighboring Illinois communities, we need to realize that each community will be required to reinvest in its schools and communities. This is the best way I know to assure that when that reinvestment occurs, it is not only at the expense of local property owners."

A property tax increase to meet the ongoing and future needs of Logan County could create a financial strain on homeowners, businesses and farmland owners. In fact, with a majority of the property in Logan County comprised of prime farmland, much of that burden would be placed on our farmers and landowners.

"This initiative distributes the tax contribution fairly, and the formula makes sense. Just a penny on a dollar purchase would generate over $1.8 million each year for education in Logan County. That's an investment that everyone should embrace for the future of our community and the education of our kids," Rohrer added.

Logan County is not alone in its effort to create a more equitable revenue system for ongoing building maintenance. In the past two years, both Macon County and Champaign County have passed the same penny sales tax for their schools.

For more information and facts, you can visit the website onecentmakessense.org, search Facebook for One Cent Makes Sense or contact Crystal Alley, communications committee chair, 217-735-5687.

Todd D. Cyrulik
Communications committee

[Posted March 23, 2011]

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