Illinois lawmaker proposes taxing landscaping and other lawn services

Illinois lawmaker proposes taxing landscaping and other lawn services

SB 9 is part of the package of bills that make up the Senate “grand bargain,” which would have hiked taxes by $7 billion.

Just as summer weather rolls around, an Illinois state politician has proposed taxing landscaping services.

Senate Bill 9 gained infamy when state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights, filed an amendment to the bill March 2 proposing a 6.25 percent sales tax to cable TV and internet streaming services such as Netflix, but the proposal covers much more.

In fact, SB 9 would apply this 6.25 sales tax to services including:

  • mowing, watering, and aerating lawns
  • weeding
  • mulching
  • raking leaves
  • tree and shrub trimming and removal
  • planting of trees, shrubs, flowering and -flowering plants, and sod; spraying; fertilizer
  • applying chemicals; lawn and garden installation
  • constructing, remodeling, or repairing irrigation or lawn sprinkler systems, patios (other than asphalt, tar, macadam, or poured concrete), walkways (other than asphalt, tar, macadam, or poured concrete), fences, trellises, and retaining walls
  • grading (such as the filling or leveling of topsoil for lawns and gardens)

Hutchinson’s proposal would also apply the tax to snow plowing and removal.

SB 9 is part of the package of bills that make up the Senate “grand bargain,” which would have hiked taxes by $7 billion – including a permanent income tax hike. And the cost drivers that have gotten Illinois into its fiscal mess would have remained almost entirely unchanged.

Tax hikes aren’t the answer. The 2011 income tax hike brought in more than $31 billion in new revenue – and nearly 90 cents of every tax hike dollar went to pensions. Yet Illinois’ pension debt has exploded, and today stands at $130 billion.

Two polls Fabrizio, Lee & Associates conducted and the Illinois Policy Institute commissioned found that not only do the majority of likely Illinois voters want the state to close its budget deficit by only cutting spending, but they also support major reforms that would make that possible.

The polls found:

  • 67 percent of Illinoisans surveyed support a permanent property tax freeze that could only be broken by a local vote
  • 78 percent of respondents said current state workers should have the option to leave the pension system and enroll in 401(k)-style retirement savings plans
  • 80 percent of Illinoisans surveyed supported spending cuts as a vehicle to balance the state budget
  • More than half of Illinoisans said spending cuts should be the only tool used to close the budget deficit

Grand bargain stalls, marking opportunity for real reform

By the end of March, the grand bargain had lost all momentum.

The Illinois Policy Institute’s Budget Solutions 2018 gives Illinois homeowners much needed property tax relief by enacting a five-year property tax freeze, while also reforming local spending drivers, like collective bargaining and other expensive state mandates.

The reform budget package also includes a constitutional plan to begin an end to Illinois’ pension crisis by enrolling all new government workers in self-managed retirement plans, and allowing current workers to opt into those 401(k)-style plans, too. This means the state’s broken pension system would eventually be phased out.

Through a combination of structural reforms and eliminating wasteful spending, Budget Solutions presents a balanced budget plan that does not hike taxes, putting Illinois on the path toward fiscal health and economic growth.

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