by Carrie Bradon, Will County Gazette
Alyssia Benford, Republication candidate for state representative in the 98th District, recently called out her opponent, Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet), for “ineffective leadership” and “lack of communication” related to a tax hike that will cost taxpayers $60 million.
“In July 2017, the Illinois budget that was passed included a new tax,” Benford said in a press release. “A 2% service tax fee for sales tax collected was included in the budget. It will increase the state revenue by an estimated $60 million. Where is the $60 million coming from? It will come from your local community.”
The 2 percent service tax fee is to cover the distribution of the portion of sales tax that is retuned to local municipalities by the Illinois Department of Revenue, Benford said.
“Given that the state already maintains 6.25%, they are receiving the large portion of the sales taxes collected,” she said in the press release. “Now an additional 2% is being taken from the sales tax collected as a ‘service fee’ prior to disbursing the funds back to the city. It is similar to paying an ATM fee, which is basically paying a fee to get your money back that you deposited into the bank.”
Benford explained in the press release that Manley was the sole representative in the area who voted for the tax.
“Three of her colleagues that also cover parts (of) the 98th District voted ‘no’ and advocated to keep your local dollars local, but Manley voted to help take $60 million from the towns that she is supposed to represent,” Benford said. “That is $60 million of economic development, infrastructure improvements, etc. that goes to help the State budget crisis. Manley failed to communicate with the local mayors prior to supporting the tax increase.”
Benford said the annual impact on Joliet alone will be $1.6 million, money that Mayor Bob O’DeKirk has said had to be taken out of reserves to cover this year’s fees.
“Those funds could have been used to pay for additional Police and Fire personnel in my community that work hard to keep us safe on a daily basis,” Benford said in the press release. “That is why I support keeping local tax dollars local.”
The 98th District covers all or parts of Bolingbrook, Crest Hill, Crystal Lawns and Joliet.