Champaign County Board Member Details Opposition To Referendum

August 18, 2016
 
The Champaign County Jail in downtown Urbana, which would close under a proposed 1/4 cent sales tax proposal that could go before voters this fall.

The Champaign County Jail in downtown Urbana, which would close under a proposed 1/4 cent sales tax proposal that could go before voters this fall.

Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

The Champaign County Board is set to vote tonight on whether to place a referendum on the November ballot that would raise the county’s sale tax by one quarter percent.  County officials project that the tax increase would raise about 50-million dollars that they plan to use for facilities including the county jail. 

Wednesday, we heard from county administrator Rick Snider, who is in favor of the plan. Now we hear from Champaign County Board member Josh Hartke, a Democrat who was one of three “no” votes on the proposal during last week’s committee of the whole meeting.  Hartke says one of his concerns is that the revenue from a sales tax increase could be used for purposes other than facilities.

Hartke says there are several other reasons that he opposes the proposal.  He says a sales tax is too regressive, affecting lower income residents more than those with higher incomes.  He also says county officials have yet to effectively make the case for their proposed satellite jail expansion to those in the community who oppose new jail construction.

The Champaign County Board meets Thursday at 6:30pm at the Brookens Center in Urbana.

Story source: WILL