Illinois is not among the states offering a “back-to-school” sales tax holiday this year.
Seventeen states will hold some form of a tax holiday in 2018, down from a peak of 19 states in 2010. Some supporters argue the temporary reduction spurs spending and saves consumers money. Jesse Hathaway, research fellow for budget and tax policy at the Heartland Institute, said that doesn’t end up happening.
“Tax holidays don’t boost the sales overall, they don’t increase economic growth,” Hathaway said. “However, they do increase the cost of compliance with tax rules. They add to the complexity.”
A 2017 study by Federal Reserve researchers shows that consumers don’t typically spend more because of the tax holiday. Instead, they simply shift the timing of purchases to the period in which the sales tax is eliminated.
Illinois last held a tax holiday in 2010. State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, voted against the proposal at the time and notes the results weren’t encouraging.
“The weekend we had the sales tax holiday, the advertisements were for 30-percent off school supplies,” Syverson said. “The following two weekends, the advertisements were 40-percent and 50-percent off. The stores knew it was a no-tax weekend, so they artificially kept the prices even higher. Individuals thought they were getting a deal, but they actually were paying more.”
Syverson said a proposal to continue the tax holiday was defeated in 2011, though the idea is discussed just about every year in Springfield.
“It makes for nice headlines, and it makes them look like they’re populists,” Syverson said. “But most of these people are the same lawmakers who have been raising taxes on everyone.”
Hathaway said the temporary nature of the tax relief distracts both residents and officials from addressing the bigger issue.
“If lawmakers really want to save money for consumers and help people keep more of their money, then they should be reducing the sales tax rate not just on one weekend, but year-round. It should be a lower tax rate that covers more things that is fair to everybody.”
Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin all offer some form of a sales tax holiday in the month of August.
Article by Scot Bertram, for more news visit ILnews.org
New Illinois law requires high school students to apply for college aid before graduation
In addition to math, science, reading, and gym class, Illinois high school students will soon have a financial aid requirement to graduate high school.
Every high school senior in the state of Illinois will have to apply for federal student aid before they can graduate.
Lawmakers approved the new law last week. Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he will sign it.
Under the plan, high schools in the state will be required to have seniors fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and if eligible a state student aid application as well.
State Rep. Katie Stuart says it will be easy for schools and kids, and could help some students get into college.
“This initiative will connect more students to the resources that are already available to help them get education or training after high school,” Stuart said. “But it’s flexible enough that we are not putting up any new barriers to graduation.”
Not all lawmakers are happy about the idea.
Opponents say there’s always a cost when the state requires local schools to do anything. And there’s a question about why all high school seniors need to fill out a FAFSA application.
But state Rep. Mary Flowers, who voted for the plan, said the requirement is aimed at the students who need extra help.
“You assume that all schools have the necessary counselors to take the time to educate the students, as well as the parents, about college and/or other programs,” Flowers told opponents of the plan.
Pritzker says the idea is critical for the state’s schools. He says he looks forward to signing the new law.
Once he does, the requirement will start in the 2020-2021 school year.
Article by Benjamin Yount with The Center Square. For more TCS visit https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois
LIVE | District 186 school board meeting January 22nd
Follow along live with District 186’s school board meeting for January 22nd.
Illinois educators wary of bill to require metal detectors in every school
A group of Illinois lawmakers are promoting legislation that would use a combination of state, local and federal funds to put metal detectors in every school in the state, but some school leaders say it’s simply not feasible.
State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said students in schools should feel safe from gun violence when they’re learning. For that reason, the former teacher filed a bill that would require all public schools, K-12, have students walk through metal detectors everyday to get to class.
“Why is it that no one gets shot inside of Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 at O’Hare Airport?” he asked.
The bill would tap into federal funds made available this summer to partially pay for the walk-through detectors, which can cost thousands of dollars.
Regional Superintendent Mark Jontry, who oversees schools in DeWitt, Livingston, Logan and McLean Counties, said the idea is well-intentioned, but would result in a unfunded expenses for school districts and create logistical problems.
“Who’s going to be responsible for doing those screenings? Are districts going to be responsible for the cost of hiring additional personnel?” he said. “The concept, on the surface may seem like a good idea, but it presents a number of challenges once you dig into it.”
The detectors would have to be run by a trained professional and need regular servicing and calibration to ensure they work properly. Jontry said such costs would likely fall to local taxpayers.
Ben Schwarm, deputy director with the Illinois Association of School Boards, served on a working group with the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. The law enforcement contingent of the group had a hierarchy of actions that could be taken to “harden” schools from unwanted entry. Schwarm said metal detectors were last on that list.
“It’s just not that effective,” he said. “There’s a thousand things school districts should be doing before they get to that point.”
Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org