School Facilities Sales Tax

October  07, 2013

     A sales tax referendum may be on the ballot next March in Rock Island County. Tonight the United Township school board will vote on a resolution asking for a one per cent tax, similar to Iowa's local option sales tax for schools.

     Superintendent Jay Morrow says proceeds from the tax would provide much needed revenue for schools in the Illinois Quad Cities Cities.

     "In Rock Island County we're basically in the "donut hole." The entire state of Iowa has this facilities tax, as does Henry County, Mercer County, Knox County, and Warren County - they have all passed it and are undertaking significant capital projects."

     Currently these districts have to levy a life-safety tax to renovate their buildings, or borrow the money. But if this referendum is approved, Morrow says they could afford significant upgrades, and reduce their property tax levies.

     "That one per cent facilities tax has done wonders for the Iowa schools. Take a look at Pleasant Valley, the Davenport schools, and Bettendorf schools - their facilities are phenomenal. And that's in large part due to the sales tax."

     To get on the ballot, districts representing 50 per cent, plus 1, of all the students in Rock Island County must request the referendum. And he expects all the boards will ask for it.