In Southeastern Illinois lies the County of Lawrence. I subscribe to the Sumner Press and saw the ad you see below:
The required referendum passed 1,557 to 1,385, according to Daily Record.
Money collected from the new tax will be distributed to all local school districts in proportion to the number of students in each district.
Once bonds are issued, the tax cannot be abolished until the bonds are paid off.
That, of course, means never.
Two Thursdays before the election (January 21, 2010), one of the local school superintendents wrote this letter to the Sumner Press:
Our elected school board members are obligated to assure our community the best possible school systems and facilities, all without excessive burdens on taxpayers. To balance our educational needs and costs is a difficult task.
On February 2, voters of Lawrence County will decide whether a 1% hike in sales tax on certain items (not the most essential) is the best solution to provide much needed improvements and upgrades to our school buildings and facilities.
The referendum on a County School Facility Sales Tax is the result of legislation sponsored by State Representative Roger Eddy and passed by our Legislature which, if approved by our voters, gives us a chance to assure needed improvements to our school facilities (including Lawrenceville High School) and for retiring bonds for Unit 10 construction, without raising taxes on essential items such as groceries, medical drugs and appliances, licensed vehicles, agricultural supplies and machinery, and without raising property taxes.
As taxpayers, we have created a Capital Development Fund which will pay 60% to 70% of the cost of such needed improvements and construction. But if we do not have the necessary “matching funds” (30 or 40% of the costs), our tax money is left on the table for other communities to obtain the facilities we need. The proposed sales tax on other items will provide the needed matching funds.Please attend the Public Forum at the Lawrenceville Central Christian Church this Thursday, January 21, at 5:00 p.m., to hear Rep. Eddy and school officials explain the effect of your vote. Please be an informed voter.
Our community needs, and cannot afford to lose, the educational upgrading and facilities this proposal will provide. I urge a “Yes” vote.
Philip B. Benefiel
Can you see why I wrote my former legislative colleague, now Publisher Roscoe Cunningham and told him the superintendent was “math impaired.”
“He apparently thinks a one percentage point increase in the local sales tax is the same as a ‘1% hike in sales tax.’ (See letter posted online: ‘On February 2, voters of Lawrence County will decide whether a 1% hike in sales tax on certain items (not the most essential) is the best solution to provide much needed improvements and upgrades to our school buildings and facilities.’)
“Let’s assume the local sales tax is 6.25%. If so, dividing one percentage point by and a quarter percentage points would yield a 15% sales tax hike.
“Politicians lie all the time about political issues, but wouldn’t you think a school superintendent would tell the truth?
“Or, doesn’t he really know the difference?
“I don’t know which is worse, deliberate deception or not knowing enough about percentages to get out of junior high school.
“Wishing we lived closer together and enjoying your now self-identifed weekly views of the world.”
And he published it with this reply,
“Cal, you are too hard on Supts. Seaton and Steagall. Each is a straight arrow. Antecedent on the numbers isn’t clear.
“We yet remember and appreciate the skill with which you skewered the ‘bad guys,’ across the aisle, in the General Assembly.
“Local GOP, to use Paul Powell’s line, ‘smell the meat a cookin’,’ are confident that either McKenna, Dillard or Ryan will win November 2.
“See you in Springfield for victory celebration.
“Best to you and family,
I can’t wait for school districts to try this in McHenry County. Rest assured that every county board member who votes to put such a referendum on the ballot will think my McHenry County Republican Cat Tax campaign was mild.