Sales Tax Bill Denounced As Ruinous To Government, Transit

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) — A bill that has passed the Illinois Senate is being called a boon to taxpayers by some, but others denounced it as a potentially ruinous measure for local government and transit agencies.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports, the bill, as written, effectively would let major Illinois businesses choose the county in which they wish to charge sales tax, regardless of where a sale is made.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts reports

That could be a boon for consumers, but it worries Regional Transportation Authority Chairman John Gates, who says businesses will naturally seek out the Illinois counties with the lowest sales tax rate.

And those counties are not in the Chicago area.

As written, opponents say, the bill would strip the Illinois Department of Revenue of the ability to investigate accusations of cheating.

Gates says if the measure were to become law it would be “devastating” to transit agencies, potentially costing the RTA upward of $500 million a year and local communities in the six-county area nearly $250 million, so he is having a competing bill written to close the loophole.

It took a bit of work just to find a tax attorney who was willing to do it.

“We could not find a law firm in the state of Illinois to help us write this bill simply because all of the expert (tax) law firms in the state were already tied up in this type of evasive activity for local clients,” he said. “We had to go to the state of Virginia to find a law firm that was not conflicted.”

The RTA’s legislative liaison and deputy executive director, Jordan Matyas, said that he has a prospective sponsor lined up. But he said it would not be his father-in-law, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).

The RTA board Thursday unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the bill and urging a boycott of businesses that engage in such activity.

Newsradio 780 has attempted to contact the sales tax bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

The bill has bipartisan co-sponsors. It passed the Senate 33-20 on April 15 and has been sent to the House Rules Committee.

  • The Undertaker

    It’s about time we quit worrying about how a tax cut bill will affect our big brother greed fueled government and politicians self-interest pet projects like transit and started worrying more about ourselves.

    Government and politicians have all feathered their nests without hard earned money and at great expense to us.

    Too bad that now they must pay the piper for their greed by allowing us a tax break for a change.

    If they are so concerned…let’s see them take a pay cut or skip the Social security COLA 2 years in a row….

    Time to focus on “ME” first for a change and to hell with government and greedy politicians and their friends.

  • Roberta Waker

    Whenever possible, especially for larger purchases, we do NOT shop where the state sales tax is high. Rates vary from one county to another and a dollar saved is a dollar earned. They need to have the same tax rates for ALL of Illinois; but the problem with that is they would probably take the higher rate instead of the middle or lower rates. Of course, there’s always Indiana and Wisconsin.. . .

    • Jim

      When I moved to Illinois I was shocked to see the sales tax differ from town to town. The state that I lived in had a flat sales tax and that was it. It also had much lower property taxes (about 1/2). I seriously do not know what this state does with all the tax money that we shell out other than pay each other fat salaries and pensions. You almost get numb to all the corruption in this state because nobody wants to do a thing. I would love to see this pass and the RTA needs to do more with less, just like the rest of us!

      • Joe L

        The RTA is already doing “more with less”. Why do you think that the CTA buses and ‘L’ cars are dirty & in deplorable shape? Why do you think the stations are dirty?

  • franklin808

    Maybe they should just have a flat 10% across the whole state. Cook County would get the lion’s share but the rest of the counties in Illinois would still get more money. It would be WIN-WIN for everybody.

  • SusanD

    Maybe it’s time to think about the “P” word. You know, Privatization. I’ll bet you that a privatized public transit system would do very well.

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