By State Rep. Allen Skillicorn -
There isn’t anything Springfield won’t tax, even the rain! Yes, you read that right. The Democratic super-majority wants to give your local municipality the power to have you pay a fee for the rain.
Of course they aren’t going to tell you that directly, but that is what HB825 does by amending the Illinois Municipal Code to modify the definition of "sewerage system" to include storm water collection, treatment, and distribution infrastructure and disposal of storm water, giving your local municipality the ability to charge a fee to offset the cost of owning, maintaining, and improving local storm water infrastructure.
So here’s a thought, aren’t they already doing so? What are all those drains for in our town and city streets that have been around for years? Isn’t storm water already being collected by our sewerage systems which we pay a fee for? So why modify the definition with the power to charge a separate fee now?
Let’s take a look at one municipality that tried to tax the rain back in 2013. The City of Elgin was contemplating a Storm Water Utility fee for 2014. Was it to address the cost of “owning, maintaining, and improving local storm water infrastructure” as a reasonable person might assume? Nice guess, but no. Elgin’s Proposed 2013-2017 Financial Plan clearly stated “Stormwater Utility Fee—The 2012-2016 Financial Plan identified the possibility of implementing a stormwater utility fee in 2013 for the sole purpose of further diversifying the city’s revenue stream to reduce reliance on property taxes. The 2013-2017 financial plan remains unchanged in this regard.” [Emphasis mine]
According the WalletHub, Illinois residents have the highest combined tax rate in the nation. Another tax, that as written in UNLIMITED is not acceptable and would dead on arrival if Illinois politicians were in touch with the over-taxed residents.
HB825 passed out of the Cities and Villages Committee on a partisan vote. All Democrat House members voted Yes and all House Republicans voted No.
- An Economic Burden. This is an UNLIMITED and regressive tax hike with no exemption for Seniors, families with children, impoverished, or even churches!
- Unnecessary. Property owners already pay some of the nations highest property taxes.
- Administrative nightmare. How will a village measure every rooftop and impervious surface? How much will that effort cost?
- Inequitable. Because this is legally a fee, it will be charged to all residences and businesses, as well as churches, schools, and not-for-profit owned properties.
- No write off. The Rain Tax as a fee cannot be deducted from your Federal taxes.
- Unfair. Most storm water doesn't end up in the city sewers. The majority of downspouts drain onto a homeowner’s property.
- Permanent. Once a tax or fee is established, it is nearly impossible to undo.
I urge lawmakers to focus on market orientated reforms, not tax hikes to balance budget. This Rain Tax has to be one of the worst ideas yet!
State Representative Allen Skillicorn is a Republican that's been representing Illinois' 66th House District since 2017.