Sales tax hike takes effect in Macon County
A sales tax increase took effect on July 1 in Macon County, three months after it won in decisive style after losing only five months before.
Sold as a “safety tax,” the increase adds 25 cents to every $100 spent, mainly to generate revenue for law enforcement activities, such as maintaining the operation of the county sheriff’s office and the jail.
Robert Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, told the Sangamon Sun that the tax does more damage than good.
“On the positive, it tends to be a broad-based tax,” Karr said. “So, you can raise a fair amount of money on a very broad base, and it captures people traveling through with people residing in the jurisdiction. On the negative side, the higher your sales tax goes, the more you're putting retailers at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring jurisdictions that don’t increase their sales tax and with internet sellers who aren’t required to collect and remit local sales tax.”
Macon County voters approved the tax in April by a margin of 58.4 percent to 41.6 percent, according to the Herald & Review. It is expected to raise an additional $2.5 million per year.
The Peoria County Sheriff's Department eliminated several positions in the midst of budget cuts, which can now be replaced. They include a drug interdiction detective, a U.S. Marshal attached to the department, a narcotics detective, a school resource officer and other support law enforcement positions, the Herald & Review reported.
Approximately 85 percent of the sheriff's department's budget is reserved for the administration of personnel and operations. The new revenue will be added to this fund.
Macon County joins 40 other Illinois counties that have added similar "safety" sales taxes, the Herald & Review reported. Champaign and Effingham counties have the same sales tax increase as Macon, while others, like Logan and Moultrie counties, doubled the amount, so that they collect an additional 50 cents for every $100 spent.