Raising taxes? It's possible in Perry County - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Raising taxes? It's possible in Perry County

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DU QUOIN, Ill. -- Perry County could soon see a half-cent tax increase called the "Public Safety Tax." The money would go towards upkeep of the jail, but many in Du Quoin are concerned it will hurt business.

"This can't happen. We just can't absorb any more taxes in Perry County," said Joan Toler, business owner. 

Toler runs a small hardware store in downtown Du Quoin. The city already has a higher sales tax than surrounding communities, and Toler says raising them again would be a nightmare. 

"It's just too hard to compete as it is in order to make a living out of a small business, and then, people get mad about our tax rate and go to other towns," said Toler. 

The proposed half-cent Public Safety tax would go towards jail repairs and technology upgrades. But Toler says she needs a new roof, too, and this tax would make it impossible to afford.

Mayor Guy Alongi says it's estimated the Public Safety Tax would generate around $689,000 for the county. Of that, $503,000 would come from Du Quoin. 

"We are 27 percent of the population base, but we collect about 72 to 74 percent of the total revenues for sales tax in the county," said Alongi. 

Shoppers downtown would see taxes increase from 9.25 percent to 9.75 percent. In the business district, where General Cable and Wal-Mart are located, taxes would go from 9.75 percent to 10.25 percent. 

"That tax is going to be equal to what people pay in the city of Chicago, that puts us over the edge," said Alongi. 

Alongi and Toler agree instead of hurting businesses in Du Quoin, the county should take out a loan rather than raising taxes. 

"This is a bad tax that comes at a bad time and I think the county needs to pony up and get their act together with their finances," said Alongi. 

"Another sales tax is just too much for Du Quoin," said Toler. 

Perry County residents will head to the polls on April 2. Toler says before making a decision, think of small businesses like hers.

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