Woodford County group says sales tax proposal could short-change taxpayers

By Marshanna Hester

Woodford County group says sales tax proposal could short-change taxpayers

April 2, 2013 Updated Apr 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM CDT

EUREKA, Ill. -- All is quiet inside Eureka School district classrooms as students enjoy spring break.

However, Superintendent Bob Gold continues to educate residents seeking answers about the proposed one percent sales tax on the April 9 ballot.

"We feel we can take pressure off property taxes," Gold said. "We've had a history of maintaining low taxes in our district."

Gold said the sales tax would generate about $380,000 for his district to do building maintenance.

Woodford County Republicans say the numbers won't add up, especially if the money is filtered through the state.

Jason Jording, the group's Republican precinct committeeman said, "What the one percent sales tax will do is hurt consumers and businesses in the county. It'll also take more local money out of the county and send it to Springfield in return to what amounts to crumbs."

By law, Jording said the state takes two percent from sales tax revenue. So that's 98 percent going to school districts.

With the state already behind on bills, Jording said the proposal isn't one voters can trust. Instead, taxpayers can count on 100 percent of property tax monies.

"Funding schools the way we've traditionally funded them gives more money for education of children," said Jording.

Gold understands if taxpayers are wary of the state, but says the sales tax is separate from school funding.

He said the money goes through the Department of Revenue, which takes a one to two percent processing fee and sends the remainder to the Regional Office of Education.

It's a process that's unavoidable.

"This happens with any tax that's outside of the state sales tax of 6.25 percent," said Gold. "Any local tax added on has to go through the Department of Revenue, is peeled off and sent back to the location it goes to."

School officials say their goal is to seek an alternative funding source instead of relying solely on the pockets of property taxpayers.

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