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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Public school administrators say some local districts would have to raise property taxes if they're forced to cover the cost of teacher pensions.

   The school officials testified Thursday at a special hearing called by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

   The Chicago Democrat says suburban and downstate districts get a "free lunch" because the state pays their teacher pension costs. He says Illinois is in grave financial trouble and the districts must be part of the solution.

 

   The administrators say potential tax increases would depend on how much money districts have and how much of the burden the state shifts to districts.

 

   Public university representatives also testified Thursday. They say the change could result in a 2 percent tuition increase.

 

   Madigan has vowed to address the issue before the General Assembly adjourns.

 

Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says income tax revenue for 2013 will top forecasts by $1.3 billion. He says he'll put the money toward the billions the state owes in unpaid bills.

The governor's office said Tuesday the money was a one-time windfall resulting from businesses and individuals selling assets or taking early dividends in anticipation of higher federal tax rates.

Quinn says the money is welcome but a one-time bump in revenue will not help fix the problem in the long run.

Illinois owes billions to businesses, charities and local governments performing some of the state's most essential services. The problem adds to the state's huge financial mess, which includes a soaring public pension crisis.

Quinn said Tuesday the focus must be on "restoring Illinois to full fiscal responsibility."

 

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon says he remains opposed to a bill that would raise the state sales tax while cutting income taxes for individuals and businesses.

   Nixon released a statement Thursday saying that a sales tax increase would shift the tax burden to seniors and veterans on fixed incomes. He said it "is not the right approach to growing our economy or creating jobs."

   His reaction comes after the House passed a bill Wednesday that would gradually cut the individual income tax by two-thirds of a percentage point over five years while also reducing business taxes.

   To offset part of the lost revenue, the bill would gradually raise the sales tax by three-fifths of a cent.

   Nixon also had opposed an earlier version of the bill passed by the Senate

Published in Local News

Still working on those taxes? 

Tax filers will be able to drop off returns in the drive-thru area at the Main Post Office in Downtown St. Louis.  You have until midnight to get the forms postmarked.

Postal service officials say they will NOT have employees on the streets in front of the Post Office to collect returns as they have offered in the past.  Also, there will be no extended retail hours today (Monday).

Postal officials say if customers need postage and mailing supplies, use the Downtown location until 8 p.m. Monday.

Large collection boxes will be set up along Market Street to drop off returns before midnight.

 
Published in Around Town

Still working on those taxes? 

Tax filers will be able to drop off returns in the drive-thru area at the Main Post Office in Downtown St. Louis.  You have until midnight to get the forms postmarked.

Postal service officials say they will NOT have employees on the streets in front of the Post Office to collect returns as they have offered in the past.  Also, there will be no extended retail hours today (Monday).

Postal officials say if customers need postage and mailing supplies, use the Downtown location until 8 p.m. Monday.

Large collection boxes will be set up along Market Street to drop off returns before midnight.

 
Published in Local News

   The Internal Revenue Service is warning metro-east tax-filers about a scam that could cost them.  

   IRS officials in Illinois say phoney tax preparers are luring mostly low-income and non-English-speakers with promises of big tax refunds.  

   The scammers may appear very legitimate, often setting up shop in a storefront office.  They use the victim's personal and financial information to file false tax returns, pocketing the money.  

   The victims don't get a refund, and some have lost federal benefits, like social security or veterans benefits because of the scams.  

   IRS officials say taxpayers should be wary of tax preparers who don't ask for proof of income and eligibility for credits and deductions. 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - An organization that analyzes Missouri financial issues has begun running a radio ad against legislation that would cut state income taxes while raising the sales tax.

 

The Missouri Budget Project said Tuesday that this marks the first time in its 10-year history that the St. Louis-based nonprofit has paid for ads against a policy proposal.

 

The ad targets legislation scheduled for a House committee hearing Tuesday that would cut income taxes by three-quarters of a percentage point while increasing the sales tax by a half cent. The bill already has passed the Senate.

 

The Budget Project claims the measure could reduce state revenues by $960 million annually once fully implemented. Other legislative estimates have put the cost at almost half that amount.

 

Published in Local News
Thursday, 14 March 2013 04:27

MO lawmakers renew charitable tax credits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would renew tax credits for charitable causes but end them for international adoptions.

The legislation sent Wednesday to Gov. Jay Nixon would reinstate tax credits for food pantry donations that expired in 2011 and for donations to pregnancy resource centers and child advocacy centers that expired in 2012.

It also renews tax credits for surviving spouses of deceased public safety officers and for people who improve their homes to be accessible to the disabled.

But the bill halts state tax credits for people who adopt children from other countries or other states. It keeps adoption tax credits in place only for Missouri children with "special needs."
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Senate has advanced a proposed one cent sales tax to fund state and local transportation projects.

The tax would need approval by Missouri voters and would automatically go to another statewide vote after 10 years. It's expected to generate nearly $8 billion over a decade, with 10 percent dedicated to local transportation needs.

Senators gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday.

The legislation requires the Highways and Transportation Commission to develop a list of projects before the tax goes on the ballot. The commission would prepare an annual status report for the governor and the Legislature.

When the increased sales tax is in effect, Missouri's gas tax would be frozen and existing roads could not be become toll roads.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon is opposing a tax overhaul plan backed by the Missouri Senate because it contains a sales tax increase.

Nixon said Thursday that the proposed one-half cent sales tax hike would be especially harmful to seniors and veterans on fixed incomes and also could also hurt working-class parents trying to provide for their children.

The bill given initial approval Wednesday night by the Republican-led Senate also includes a three-quarters of a percentage point decrease in the state income tax for individuals and businesses. That income tax cut would more than offset the sales tax hike, resulting in an estimated $450 million loss in state revenues once both tax changes are fully phased in.

The legislation needs another Senate vote before it can move to the House.
Published in Local News
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