Questionable Electricity Tax Threatens Lockport, IL

No one likes the idea of paying higher taxes than they need to. So, when talk of a new tax comes around, it’s only natural that taxpayers will be wary – especially when said tax could drastically raise expected annual costs. Unfortunately, the kind of financial hardship that often accompanies tax hikes is precisely what some individuals in Illinois are likely to face in the very near future.

Residents in Lockport, Illinois are facing some pretty hefty bills after a proposed electricity tax measure passed following an official lawmaker vote.

Imposing a 1.6 percent tax on electricity was Mayor Steve Streit’s idea. Mayor Streit sought to replace city vehicle stickers with this tax, and considered it a much better alternative for raising revenue.

City vehicle stickers are mandatory across all cities in Illinois, and Lockport is no exception. The sticker is a component of the state’s annual Wheel Tax, which has been in place since 1908. Proceeds are allocated toward the maintenance, repair, and improvement of roadway safety and law enforcement. All vehicles registered in any Illinois city must pay for and display a vehicle sticker, which serves as a receipt of tax payment.

Proponents of the Wheel Tax believe that anyone who contributes to the “wear and tear” of public roadways should, in turn, have a responsibility for its upkeep. However, opponents argue that the interests of the community are not being represented.

But while the Mayor’s original plan was to ensure the tax would generate the same amount of revenue as the stickers, aldermen had a different plan.

City Council members voted in favor of the tax, but it wasn’t the tariff Mayor Streit had in mind. What the measure that actually passed aims to do is more than double the revenue that sticker sales generated by imposing a 3.5 percent tax on electricity, which averages to about $41 per year for the average homeowner.

But consumers aren’t the only ones who will be impacted by the electricity tax. News reports suggest that businesses, churches, and non-profit organizations will also be subject to the extra fees. The only exceptions are schools and government buildings.

Seniors stand to sustain the biggest losses from the tax, along with small businesses. However, larger corporations will also be significantly affected. Naturally, the bigger the company’s facility, the higher the electricity bills will amount to.

But in the grander scheme of things, the real cost is not on the company’s bankroll. The ones who will likely suffer are the employees, who could be laid off as a way for corporations to offset the losses resulting from the electricity tax.

At this point, it would be wise for both residents and businesses in Lockport to consult with an Illinois tax lawyer to determine just how much they will be affected by the measure. Tax attorneys can assist individuals and corporations with determining exactly how much they should legally pay in fees and whether or not they are in compliance with the state’s laws.

If you reside in Illinois and are concerned about the electricity tax, or have questions regarding how it applies in your particular situation, it is in your best interest to request a free consultation with a tax lawyer to avoid an excess of charges or the violation of your rights.