Organized opposition to McLean County's proposed 1% sales tax increase for schools has developed. Bloomington businessman Erik Prenzler is with a group calling itself Citizens Acting for Responsible Education or "McLean CARE." Prenzler says the funds aren't needed because school spending hikes in the county already outstrip ten-year enrollment increases 39% to 3.7%. And he says the proposal to be voted on March 18th contains "double-barrelled increases" allowing schools to backstop lower sales tax income with other tax hikes.
"If they project $18 million in sales tax and we have another recession and let's say they only collect $15 million, they can immediately go to the real estate tax base and increase real estate taxes. There is no guarantee real estate taxes will not go up."
Prenzler says the McLean CARE group is now distributing yard signs and has a Facebook page. Schools are allowed by state law to increase sales taxes for capital improvements only. Superintendents say the funds are needed because resources are drying up at nearly every funding level. Unit 5 Superintendent Gary Niehaus says construction grants approved ten years ago are only now being paid.
(graphic illustration courtesy McLean CARE)
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