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Ill. Supreme Court Rules Against Elliott

Separate photos of Justice Anne Burke, Atty. Jason O'Rourke, Atty. Floyd Perkins, and Justice Lloyd Karmeier
http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Media/On_Demand.asp 3/17/2016
Illinois Supreme Court
March 23, 2016

Unless it appeals to the US Supreme Court, Elliott Aviation will have to pay property taxes. Thursday the Illinois Supreme Court ruled against the fixed base operator in Moline. The justices agreed with the appellate court that a law exempting the company from paying property taxes is unconstitutional.

Four years ago, Illinois passed the law giving Elliott a permanent property tax exemption. The following year, a Rock Island County judge ruled against the Moline School District, which successfully appealed to the Third District Appellate Court. Its ruling reversed the local court decision, and Elliott appealed to the state's highest court. The justices heard oral arguments in March.

In its ruling, the supreme court says, "We do not see and cannot reasonably conceive of anything that would justify distinguishing FBOs, Fixed Base Operators, at the Quad City Airport from other FBOs at other Illinois airports... for purposes of property tax liability." 

And "Under the state constitution, the law is forbidden because it discriminates in favor of a select group without a sound and reasonable basis." It agrees with the appellate court's conclusion that the law violates the special legislation clause of the Illinois Constitution.

The Moline School District said the exemption would cost it 150,000 dollars a year in lost tax revenue. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.