Opinion: Tax Issue Could Become a Turning Point for Jacksonville Schools

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, December 19, 2011

On Dec. 14, the Jacksonville (Fla.) School District 117 Board of Education voted unanimously to put a County School Facilities Tax question on the ballot for the March election.  

That decision may be looked back upon as a turning point for the community similar to that of the downtown square and all of its success. The ballot question has, however, led to many more questions.  

What is the County School Facilities Tax, how much will it cost me, and why now?

First, the Illinois County School Facility Tax (public act 95-0675) law was enacted by the Illinois Legislature in October 2008, enabling school districts to generate money for “school facility purposes” through a sales tax rather than a property tax.  This tax is limited to 1 percent (or one cent for each dollar) on everything in the municipal and county sales tax base except for the following: Cars, trucks, ATVs, boats and RVs, mobile homes, unprepared food, drugs — including over-the-counter and vitamins — farm equipment and parts, and farm inputs.  If it is not currently taxed, it will not be taxed.  

It would cost taxpayers an additional $100 for every $10,000 spent on taxable items. In addition to the purchases you and I make, visitors who come to our community will also be helping to support our schools. 

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