Lake County village rejects sales tax referendum

Lake County village rejects sales tax referendum

A proposed 1 percent sales tax would have increased the village of Barrington’s sales tax burden to among the highest in the nation.

On Nov. 6, voters in the village of Barrington rejected a referendum that would have created a new 1 percent sales tax. Officials sought to use revenues from the tax to fund infrastructure improvements.

The new tax would have increased residents’ overall sales tax burden substantially – and in varying degrees.

Because areas of Barrington are located in both Lake and Cook counties, village residents in either county pay differing sales tax rates. Barrington residents located in Lake County pay a combined sales tax rate of 7 percent, for example, while those in Cook County shoulder a 9 percent combined rate.

For Barrington residents located in Cook County, the 1 percent sales tax would have raised the combined sales tax rate to 10 percent – among the highest in the nation. The resulting sales tax burden would have rivaled that of Chicago, whose 10.25 percent combined rate ranks as highest in the nation. Village residents in Lake County would have paid an 8 percent combined sales tax rate.

Because Barrington does not have home rule authority, the village cannot institute a sales tax without voter approval.

Illinoisans already pay the highest combined state and average local sales tax rates in the Midwest. Village officials should take these referendum results to heart, and explore ways to reform spending, rather than looking to hike taxes on overburdened Illinoisans.

Illinoisans cite high taxes as the No. 1 reason they consider leaving the state. Unless state and local lawmakers pursue reforms that provide relief to taxpayers, there might soon be too few residents left to tax.

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