Winnebago County School Officials Discuss Push For Sales Tax
You soon could be paying more for virtually everything in Winnebago County.
The Rockford Register Star is reporting that local school officials are set to meet this week to discuss placing a referendum question on an upcoming election ballot to increase the sales tax by 1-percentage point. According to Corrina Curry at the RRStar:
A 1 percentage point sales tax for schools would generate about $16 million to $17 million a year, Rockford School District officials said Tuesday night. The district would use its portion of those funds to pay off debt service associated with money borrowed to fund building projects. Lowering the district's debt service would lower the property tax rate and save residents money on their tax bills, officials said.
What's unclear is exactly how much the property tax rate would change and how much money the average homeowner might save. And, of course, how that might compare to the increased sales tax paid on purchases.
Rockford's sales tax rate would move from 8.25 percent to 9.25 percent if voters eventually approve the hike. The RRStar reports individual school districts would decide how to use the money, but it would have to spent on facilities, building operations and maintenance or building debt.
At least one member of the Rockford School Board is fully on board with the concept:
"One of the reasons we’re talking about it is we know very well that our property tax rate is not helping us," said Rockford School Board member Tim Rollins. "The proposal is that the revenue we’d generate from this would be used to pay off our debt service. ... They're wanting more money for the Sheriff’s Department, possibly 1.25 percent. They’re already getting 1 percent. The city is getting 1 percent for their roads. I think it would be nice if people would give 1 percent to education."
The meeting among school officials takes place Thursday. The story states that support from districts representing more than 50 percent of the county's students is needed to place the question on the ballot. The math would seem to indicate that if Rockford 205 is on board, there's a good chance this question is heading for the ballot.