Council to consider resolutions supporting higher taxes

Sophia Bollag, City Editor

Evanston aldermen voted Monday night to move two resolutions supporting tax increases for consideration by the City Council.

One of the resolutions encourages state legislators to extend the current income tax increase in the state beyond 2015. The other resolution voices support for the state legislature to allow local governments to tax calls to 911 on mobile phones.

“The theory is that if enough of us pass this kind of resolution, then Springfield will listen,” Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said during the Rules Committee meeting Monday.“Let’s see if it works.”

After some discussion, the committee, made up of all nine aldermen and the mayor, ultimately voted 6-4 in support of the resolution to extend the income tax increase.

If the elevated income tax is not extended, it will drop from 5 percent to 3.75 percent for all Illinois taxpayers in 2015.

“The cuts that are going to come are going to come heavily on municipalities,” Tisdahl said. “I think this is a better time to deal with it than to scream after it happens.”

The committee’s vote comes two weeks after State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) spoke at a town hall meeting in Evanston in support of extending the tax increase.

(Biss discusses state income tax, pension funding at Evanston town hall)

Biss warned the decrease would cause $2 billion in cuts of discretionary spending, which includes funding for education and public safety.

“It would be pretty significantly devastating,” Biss said during the April 21 meeting at the Evanston Public Library. “The current tax path that we’re on today is a really bad idea.”

The committee voted 9-1 to recommend the resolution asking for the state legislature to allow local governments to tax calls to 911 on mobile phones.

Ald. Jane Grover (7th) supported the resolution, which she said would encourage the state to modernize an outdated tax structure.

Currently, only landline calls to 911 are taxed, even though the majority of calls to 911 are made using mobile phones.

“This resolution is encouraging the state fee revenue structure to catch up with how people use cell phones and the fact that cell phone use is the primary way — even in Evanston — for how people reach 911,” Grover said. “This is a good thing.”

City Council must vote on both resolutions for them to be adopted.

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Twitter: @SophiaBollag