To the Editor:
On April 4, your sales tax may go up another 1 percent - and never come down.
School boards representing at least 51 percent of the student population in Madison County voted to put a proposed tax increase on the April 4 ballot. Edwardsville District 7 and Collinsville District 10 oppose this new tax. We all want what is best for the children in our county as much as anyone. But building new facilities will not solve our education issues.
Proponents of this new tax promise property tax abatement. This is possible on occasion in select situations, but by and large it is a ruse. Here are some reasons why we oppose this proposal:
- This new tax will cost us approx. $23 million a year in new sales taxes;
- School boards in Madison County could collectively bond up to $300 million for new school buildings (assuming 25 year bonds @ 3.5% at a 1.25x coverage ratio). If this passes, it could cost us $500 million (with interest) in taxes;
- This is all about making money for investment bankers, who could earn fees of $12 million (4%) on the $300 million of bonds this new tax could allow. That’s why out-of-town investment bankers spent tens of thousands of dollars promoting this tax in Madison County in 2011;
- In 2011, Madison County voters learned the truth and rejected this tax increase by a 4 to 1 margin. The investment bankers are simply trying again;
- Some school board members are saying they “promise” to use some of this new sales tax money to “reduce” property taxes. But a school board member cannot make a promise “forever.” They can change their mind at any time. The purpose of this new sales tax is not to reduce property taxes. It’s to issue bonds, which could increase your property taxes; and
- Illinois law calls these bonds "double-barreled" bonds. They can get us with both barrels - sales taxes and property taxes. If the sales tax proves insufficient to make the bond payments, bond investors can increase the property taxes. If this tax is approved by the voters, and maximum bonds are issued, it cannot be repealed.
Make your voice heard and vote no on April 4.
Madison County Citizens for Educational Sustainability