The past few weeks of advocating against the Home Rule Sales Tax would not have been possible without the help and support of our Membership. Thank you for your feedback, time and deliberation of this vital topic. While the tax passed 9-0 last week, we at the Chamber are encouraged by the promises from the dais of our councilmen. Promises such as eliminating the tax upon elimination of city debt, a clear and concise sunset date with public accountability and a strong commitment to the next steps of truly scrubbing the budget, cutting expenses and living within a budget will lead to an eventual repeal of the Home Rule Sales Tax.
At the final city council meeting, I had the opportunity to speak with the council members prior to the vote. During this process, we have been successful in maintaining a great working relationship with the council and are looking forward to working with them to repeal this tax.
Below are some of the highlights of my speech that I wanted you, our membership, to know:
The tax should sunset when the defined amount of debt has been refunded (bond term for being paid off) and the reserve increased because it is the existing debt and reserve that the tax is being used to pay. It should be definitively determined that the bonds can be refunded within the stated time periods and at what cost.
Any excess funds collected after this defined amount of debt is paid should be used to reduce the annual property tax levy. This is needed because the timing of the repeal of the tax and its collection will not coincide exactly. The overpayment will be “returned” to the taxpayers through a lower tax levy.
The cost of new projects or borrowing should be paid from revenue sources other than the sales tax. The City should be required to live within its means per stated principles. The existing budget line item for debt service should not be used for new debt.
The City should continue to work with the Chamber to help push the passage of the Main Street Fairness Act.
If the internet sales tax is collected it also should be used to pay off the debt and therefore speed up the repeal of the local sales tax.
The sunset should be for as short of time as possible so new council members will be required to go on record regarding the continued support for the local sales tax. Ideally 2-4 years max.
The ordinance that passed last week incorporated several of the points requested above such as: sunset date, revenue for debt only, reduction in property tax levy and limited new debt approval. We will continue to work with the city council as we enter the next phase of this process and analyze the budget. As always, the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce is here to be a resource to our Members in advocating for pro-business policies.
As someone that lives, works, shops and interacts in Naperville, if you have any recommendations on ways to cut the city budget, please forward them along. Our goal is to work with the city council in creating a new forward thinking budget that sets the path to repeal the Home Rule Sales Tax.
We look forward to our continued work together for the betterment of Naperville businesses and as you have questions or need, don’t hesitate to ask.