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Will County anticipates tax rate decrease for third straight year

Joliet Herald News

Friday, July 14, 2017  |  Article  |  

Local Government (60) , Tax caps (87)

JOLIET – The Republican majority of the Will County Board was looking to freeze the county’s tax rate, but the board might actually be able to decrease it again.

County Board Finance Committee Chairman Mike Fricilone, R-Homer Glen, said that based on preliminary numbers from the county’s financial offices, residents are likely to see a decrease in the county tax rate in the next fiscal year.

“Right now, it looks like at least a
1.5 percent [decrease] over last year. That’s based on all the budget work everybody has done,” Fricilone said. “That would give us a rate of about 0.6058. Hopefully, we can push it down a little more from there.”

It would be the third consecutive year Will County reduced its tax rate. The fiscal 2016 rate was 0.6196 percent, and in fiscal 2015, it was 0.6433 percent.

Fricilone announced the push for a county property tax freeze last week in response to the Illinois General Assembly increasing the corporate tax rate from 5.25 percent to 7 percent and the personal income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.

It depends how much a resident’s home is worth, Fricilone said, but dropping the tax rate will help residents save dollars compared to whether the rate stayed the same or it increased.

No members of the Democratic minority have objected to a tax rate decrease.

Will County Board Speaker Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, said it’s a culmination of the board and county offices putting in good work and watching their budgets.

On Tuesday, Fricilone went to bat for the county on other tax-related matters, as he testified on Capitol Hill in defense of the state and local tax, or SALT, deduction. More than 125,000 middle-class families in Will County save an average of $2,000 a year through the SALT deduction, according to a news release from the County Board.

“This deduction keeps taxes low for our middle-class residents,” Fricilone said in the release. “The SALT deduction is not only for the wealthy or residents of high-tax states, as it is often portrayed.”

Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their federal income tax are eligible for SALT deductions. Through it, taxpayers can deduct their state and local property taxes and either state income taxes or general sales taxes. The Trump administration’s proposed tax reform plan would eliminate the SALT deduction.

Fricilone said that eliminating the SALT deduction essentially would double residents’ tax on income.

”Ultimately, eliminating this deduction will only shift the cost to the local level and put pressure on state and local revenue systems,” Fricilone said.