House panel OKs diverting corporate taxes to education offices

SPRINGFIELD -- Another attempt to use some corporate personal property replacement tax revenue to fund the operation of the regional offices of education cleared an Illinois House committee Tuesday.

This time, however, the move would be permament and also calls for paying other local government functions from the fund that is used mainly to provide shared revenue to cities and villages.

Although no one testified against the legislation (House Amendment 3 to SB 492), the Illinois Municipal League later issued an alert that it opposes the move. The group estimated that the proposal would divert $12 million to $15 million from local governments.

For the last two years the corporate personal property replacement fund has been used to finance the salaries and operations of the regional offices of education, including the Champaign-Ford office located in Rantoul. The amendment introduced Tuesday would make that shift permanent, and would divert money from the fund to pay salaries, stipends and other costs to the state for election clerks, county clerks and county recorders, and expenses of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

"It's not a brand new expenditure for the CPPRT but it now will be on a permanent basis rather than doing it year to year," said state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago. She estimated the total annual diversion would amount to about $18 million from the fund that most recently was at $1.5 billlion.

"It is such a tiny portion of the overall fund," she said.

Earlier this year Gov. Pat Quinn proposed an even larger diversion from the fund.

"You know, sometimes we've talked about abolishing the whole program. That might be another alternative. I don't think that's going to happen but I hope that this goes through," Currie said.

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