Residents of rural McLean County may soon face a new property tax.
A bill recently introduced in Springfield would create an airport tax for rural residents who currently don’t pay a tax to the airport.
Central Illinois Regional Airport Director Carl Olson said on GLT’s Sound Ideas that residents of Bloomington-Normal would see a 30 percent reduction in airport property taxes because of the bill, while residents of rural areas would have a new tax of about $41 per year for a home valued at $150,000.
“The economic benefit of the airport doesn’t stop at the municipal boundaries,” Olson said. “The entire community should equally support the airport, just as the entire community equally benefits from the economic contribution of the airport.”
The plan has surfaced before but failed to win approval. Olson said the goal is not to increase property tax rates, but to make the tax base broader in case the federal government cuts airport funding and create a more dependable and locally controlled revenue stream.
“This is not about generating additional revenue,” Olson said. “This is about contingency planning, competitive position and moving forward in a stronger fashion.”
Olson said the airport authority did not want to do a referendum for several reasons, including the potential to increase urban and rural tensions.
“That 75 percent of the population would receive a reduction, versus 25 percent that would have a new tax—it comes down to just creating that tension and stress,” Olson said.
Rockford and the Quad Cities are also part of the legislation, which was introduced by Democratic state Rep. Jay Hoffman of Swansea.
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