VOTE: Additional 1 Percent Sales Tax—What's Your Take?
Shoppers in Oak Forest could pay 1 percent more for certain goods, if Oak Forest aldermen sign off on the home-rule sales tax this week. What does this mean to you? Have your say.
The City of Oak Forest is considering tacking on an additional 1 percent sales tax to all “tangible personal property" — which excludes services, nonprepared food, prescription drugs and licensed vehicles.
The tax would be the latest attempt to replenish a revenue stream that has fallen $4.2 million short in the past four years, according to a news release from the city.
To offset the shortfall, the city has previously reduced its full-time staff members from 126 to 111 employees and cut its part-time staffing by 50 percent. The city also delayed the purchase of new vehicles, machinery and equipment, according to the release. City Hall hours were also pared down to reduce operating costs.
"Our mantra over the past four years has been cut, cut, cut," City Treasurer Dwayne Fox said in the release. "Despite our best cost-containment efforts, we cannot overcome a $4.2-million loss in income tax, sales tax and utility tax revenues while facing increasing costs of providing services. A home-rule sales tax would spread these costs to nonresidents and diversify our revenues."
Patch wants to know how our readers feel, and we started with our Facebook fans.
- Ed Morris said: “This is getting plain ridiculous. So it will be 9.5%, the SAME AS CHICAGO. Yet we are less than 1% of their size by population. Its time for a citizens review panel. Trash Increase + Water Increase + Utility Bill Tax Increase + Cell Tax Inc... “
- Jim Vanderwall said: “Maybe the city needs to learn how to live within their budget. Everyone should be calling their alderman about this. Enough is enough!!”
- Danielle Abendroth said: The city is taxing us to death. Increases in property taxes and plus max taxes on telephone internet and cable gas tax For what? I already do the bulk of shopping outside of OF and the county and will continue to do so even more if I can. The city should focus on bringing in businesses to generate tax revenue instead of taxing the consumers. Or eliminate unnecessary governnent positions to cover the budget.
- Darryl Kowalewski said: "All I know is I went into that [finance] meeting ready to complain complain complain, and after hearing all of the facts, I came away with the sense that many concessions had already been made, and that all were informed of their options, and were doing what was best for the city and it's residents given the current situation. ...
What I was guilty of in the past, and vowed not to be guilty of in the future, was complaining about these issues without doing my homework, it's a work in progress, but it feels better, I can tell you that much.”
- Ruth Ensing said: No economic development equals higher taxes. The city is stagnant and will continue to be so until we get a more pro-active team.
- Brian Koehler said: IF, and that's a big if, I were to spend $1,000 in Oak Forest per year on tangible personal property, I think paying an extra $10 is a reasonable and minimal increase and I'm ok with that. That's assuming they vote on a full 1% increase. As a home rule community, the Council doesn't have to go to referendum to the citizens. I agree with everyone that we need more businesses in town to help pay their share too but that can only happen with a full staff in Community Development.
- Michael Master said: Ill just keep shopping in will county.
Where do you stand? Will implementing an additional sales tax deter you from spending money within Oak Forest city limits?