Shelbyville Daily Union

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January 17, 2014

Q&A about County School Facility Tax

What is the Illinois County SchoolFacility Tax (CSFT)?

Passed by the Illinois legislators in 2007, the intent of the law is to privide a funding source for schools which is an alternative to traditional property taxes. The CSFT provides for a retail sales tax of up to 1% on “non-essential” goods sold in the county for the purpose of funding school facility needs.

What is taxed?

The CSFT taxes only “non-essential” goods. Groceries, over-the-counter and prescription medicines, cars, boats, and other licensed vehicles, farm equipment, parts and inputs are not taxed. The sales tax would cover restaurant food, alcohol, clothing, fuel and other items currently covered by the state sales tax. “If it is not currently taxed, it will not be taxed.”

How is the revenue from the taxdistributed among county school districts?

Sales tax revenues are distributed to districts based on the number of student each district has livingin the county. The State will keep a 2% administrative fee as it does with all other taxes.

How does the sales tax benefitproperty owners?

The CSFT can benefit property owners in two ways. First, revenues can be applied to paying off district debt from past facilities improvements. Second, sales tax revenues can fund facilities project that, without the sales tax, would otherwise be funded by property owners. The sales tax is paid by everyone, not just property owners. This would include summer visitors to Lake Shelbyville.

How can the sales tax revenues be used?

The revenue can only be used to pay for school facilities related expenses such as building or repairing facilities, safety and security measures, roofing projects, energy efficiency improvements, etc. The funds cannot be used for operating or administrative purposes such as salaries.

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