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U.S. Rep. Sean Castin has earmarked, “$500,000 for Barrington’s plan to create a safer pedestrian crossing where Main Street meets the Canadian National Railroad.”

Congressional representatives serving northeastern Illinois have requested hundreds of millions of dollars in federal cash for community and transportation projects as part of the appropriations process for the 2022 fiscal year.

Links to each lawmaker’s funding requests for community projects can be found at appropriations.house.gov/transparency. A list of the transportation projects submitted by each lawmaker can be found at transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/issue/member-designated-projects.

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat serving the 6th District, requested a $31.9 million for 10 community projects and eight transportation or infrastructure projects. His requests include:

  • $1.5 million for the Morton Arboretum in Lisle to fund its participation in the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, which helps communities plant and grow trees.
  • $6.6 million for Naperville-based 360 Youth Services‘ Youth Affordable Housing Resource Center, which will offer crisis intervention, job training and other services.
  • $500,000 for Barrington’s plan to create a safer pedestrian crossing where Main Street meets the Canadian National Railroad.

“Projects like these will have a lasting and important impact on our community, and I’m proud to advocate for them,” Casten said.

Read more here.

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Gas Tax

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers doubled the gas tax in 2019, they built in automatic annual increases. The next boost hits July 1. Perfect timing, as Pritzker spends $6 million to ask Illinoisans to take a drive.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is encouraging road trips just in time for drivers to catch the next boost in the state’s gas tax.

The law that doubled Illinois’ state portion of the gas tax also automatically boosts the tax every July 1 based on inflation – a move that saved state lawmakers from the political backlash of voting for future gas tax increases. The gas tax is next set to increase by one-half penny per gallon starting July 1, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The boost will mean the average driver in Illinois will be paying $105.67 more per year than they did before the gas tax doubled.

July 1 will mark Illinois’ third motor fuel tax increase in as many years. Rates doubled to $0.38 per gallon from $0.19 in July 2019, then to $0.387 in 2020 and will hit $0.392 on July 1.

After the last automatic increase in 2020, Illinois’ average gas taxes ranked third highest in the nation. Illinois is one of the few states that charge sales taxes atop all the other taxes and fees, essentially taxing the taxes on a gallon of gas.

Pritzker is currently pushing Illinoisans and drivers from neighboring states to take a road trip in Illinois. The “Time For Me to Drive” campaign is a $6 million initiative aimed at jump-starting state tourism.

Read more from Illinois Policy here.

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2020 CensusIllinois will lose one member from the U.S. House of Representatives because of continued population declines.

It was expected Illinois would lose representation, based on year-over-year annual Census estimates showing the state losing an estimated 253,000 residents over the past ten years.

Official numbers from the 10-year Census were released Monday.

“Total U.S. Pop 331,449,281, an increase of 7.4 percent over the 2010 Census, lower than the previous growth rate of 9.7 percent,” Acting Director of the U.S. Census Bureau Ron Jarmin said. “That was the second slowest in U.S. History.”

Counts are based on the number of people living in each state as of April 1, 2020.

In 2010, Illinois had a resident population of nearly 12,830,632 million and 18 U.S. Representatives, down from 19 from the 2000 census. For 2020, Illinois lost another seat and will now have just 17 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Census officials announced Monday. The total resident population was 12,812,739 for 2020.

Illinois was one of seven states that will lose one seat for the Congress that will be seated in 2023.

Illinois has lost ten seats in the U.S. House over the past 110 years, according to Census data. In 1910, Illinois had 27 members of the U.S. House. That dropped by one in 1940, another one in 1950, another in 1960 and then two in 1990 with one every ten years since then.

Read more here.

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Darch

Barrington officials are ready to weigh in on the idea of Lake County allowing the sale of recreational cannabis in unincorporated parts of the county.

The Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to hold virtual public hearings April 19 and April 21 to provide information and gather feedback about the possibility of allowing recreational cannabis dispensaries in unincorporated areas, Barrington officials discussed during the April 5 Village Board Committee of the Whole meeting.

The county issued a one-year moratorium in February 2020 prohibiting all cannabis-related businesses in the county’s unincorporated areas. The temporary ban expired Feb. 10. – around the time discussions on the subject began again.

County board members approved a resolution at their Feb. 9 meeting to begin the public hearing process to get input on potential regulations to allow recreation use cannabis businesses, including growers, distributors and retail establishments in unincorporated Lake County – with certain restrictions, according to a recent news release.

Barrington Village President Karen Darch is not sure the county currently can allow cannabis dispensaries. However, “I know they say they want to talk about,” she said. There is a state bill pending that could allow it, she said.

She said the reason she brought up the issue at the Committee of the Whole meeting was to get trustees’ feedback on issuing a statement about the idea. Barrington’s zoning ordinances don’t allow recreational cannabis dispensaries, but the village is adjacent to unincorporated Lake County areas where the county could end up allowing those uses, Darch said.

Read more here.

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OBH Capture

As previously reported, Brian Cecola has likely won the race for Village President (See “Cecola headed for victory in Barrington Hills president race”).

Here are the unofficial results for Village Board of Trustees:

  • David Riff  445
  • Thomas W. Strauss 428
  • Laura S. Ekstrom 467
  • Robert M Zubak 366
  • Brent Joseph Burval 349
  • Paula Jacobsen 389

County totals are seen below:

Cook

Cook County

Kane

Kane County

Lake Results

Lake County

McHenry Resilts

McHenry County

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Increasing the estate tax would hurt family farms and businesses, drive wealth and investment out of Illinois. Most states are ending their ‘death taxes.’

Many states have moved away from taxing assets after people die because of the harm to family businesses and farms, but a new proposal before state lawmakers would double Illinois’ estate tax.

House Bill 3920 would hike the existing state tax on estates of over $4 million to 9.95% from 4.95%. Unlike neighboring Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Missouri, Illinois is one of just a dozen states that still have an estate or inheritance tax. Tax Foundation analyst Katherine Loughead noted, “The top marginal estate tax rate under this proposal would become the highest in the country at 21%.”

While the bill’s sponsors intend the extra revenues to be used to support Illinoisans with disabilities, hiking the estate tax would squeeze family farmers, reduce the accumulation of productive assets, encourage spendthrift behavior, fuel tax avoidance and evasion, and drive wealth to other states.

When someone dies, the federal government taxes the estate by up to 40%. Then Illinois piles onto that with more taxes of up to 16%.

The Tax Foundation notes the harm of estate taxes: “They disincentivize business investment and can drive high-net-worth individuals out of state. They also yield estate planning and tax avoidance strategies that are inefficient, not only for affected taxpayers, but for the economy at large. The handful of states that still impose them should consider eliminating them or at least conforming to federal exemption levels.”

Research shows higher estate tax rates increase efforts to avoid those taxes and reduce wealth accumulation. People employ more complex estate planning techniques that carry economic costs.

Read more from Illinois Policy here.

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1040

The Internal Revenue Service is extending the tax filing deadline about one month from April 15 to May 15, according to CNBC.

Taxpayers will have additional time to file their 2020 tax returns and pay any amounts owed to the IRS. Because May 15 falls on a Saturday, CNBC reported the final deadline for filers may be the following Monday, May 17.

In January, the IRS pushed back the start of tax season to Feb. 12 to give the agency more time to prepare following the December COVID-19 relief bill, which included a second round of stimulus checks that the IRS was in charge of delivering. At the time, the agency kept the typical April 15 filing deadline.

Source

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Illinois households pay nearly $9,500 on average in state and local taxes, which at 15% of their income is the nation’s highest. WalletHub finds gasoline taxes pushed Illinois to No. 1.

Illinois households spend 15% of their income on state and local taxes, according to a new analysis by personal finance website WalletHub.

The cost is $9,488 in Illinois state and local taxes applied to the median U.S. household income of $63,218. Illinois also ranked as having the second-highest property taxes and third-highest gas taxes.

Analyst Jill Gonzalez said it was those gas taxes, which the state doubled in 2019, that pushed Illinois to the top tax spot.

“I think so because now Illinois has the third-highest gas taxes in the country, and that’s five times higher than Arizona, or New Mexico or Mississippi,” Gonzalez told The Center Square.

Illinois in 2019 doubled the state gasoline tax, but also authorized certain counties near Chicago to increase or establish their own gas taxes. Lake County was the latest to use that law and just hiked taxes by 4 cents per gallon, effective July 1.

July 1 is also when the state’s gasoline tax is set to automatically increase by as much as a penny a gallon. It is currently 38.7 cents per gallon after initially doubling from 19 cents a gallon in 2019.

Read more here and see state-by-state comparisons.

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Prices at the pump will increase July 1st at Lake County gas stations such as this Speedway on Northwest Highway in Lake Barrington.

The Lake County Board approved an ordinance that will add a four-cent-per-gallon gas tax to address a $1.7 billion transportation project backlog in the county.

The new ordinance will provide an estimated $10 million dollars each year in new transportation infrastructure investments.

Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart said the investment will allow the county to address “critical transportation needs” that residents have been asking about.

Those include railroad grade separations, road widenings, safer turn lanes and other improvements which will aim to reduce congestion, carbon emissions and improve traffic safety.

“Many of these projects, if left unaddressed, pose significant traffic congestion and safety issues,” Hart said.

The ordinance goes into effect July 1 and all of the revenue will stay in Lake County. It is required to be solely dedicated to improving the county’s transportation system.

In 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a $45 billion infrastructure plan, which included doubling the gas tax from 19 cents per gallon to 38 cents per gallon.

Read more here.

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Illinois again ranked second for highest property tax rates in the nation in 2021, behind only New Jersey.

Illinois homeowners average $4,942 in property taxes on the U.S. median valued home of $217,500 – exactly double the national average. That’s a tax each year of 2.27% of the house value, according to the 2021 state rankings by WalletHub.

“The first property tax bill I opened was sticker shock,” said retiree Jerry R. McDonald, who moved to Springfield in 2012 when he married his wife, Nancy, a lifelong Illinois resident. “The difference was about two and a half times what I had been paying in central Kentucky. It was very disconcerting.”

This is the fourth year Illinois has ranked second-highest in the WalletHub survey. The new survey found Illinois property taxes $237 higher than in the 2020 survey.

Illinois is surrounded by states with lower property taxes, a driving factor behind Illinois’ continued population loss. The state just saw its worst year of population loss since World War II. A move to Indiana would save an Illinoisan $3,089 in property taxes on that $217,500 house, based on WalletHub’s data. The savings would be $915 in Wisconsin, $2,831 in Missouri, $1,535 in Iowa, $3,076 in Kentucky and $1,599 in Michigan.

McDonald said since 2012 he’s seen his taxes rise too quickly in the Springfield area.

“Our property taxes have increased, at a rough guess, by about 15%. The state’s finances are a mess … The backlog of the pension fund is draining the state and the solution … is long term and complicated.”

Read more here and view state-by-state comparison data.

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