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Grundy County Finance Committee may help Channahon pay for lobbyist group

Town hired lobbyists to provide advice on rewriting sales tax laws

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – The Grundy County Finance Committee discussed this week contributing funds to help pay for the lobbying group hired to be Channahon’s advocate during the sales tax law discussions in Springfield.

“Channahon didn’t really ask for anything, but we may want to be involved with them,” Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson said during Monday’s finance committee meeting.

At its most recent meeting, the village of Channahon approved the hiring of lobbying group Governmental Consulting Solutions. The village will spend no more than $18,000 for the lobbyists who will provide information and advice to the village regarding the rewriting of sales tax laws.

After a recent court case involving the Illinois Department of Revenue, the current sales tax laws were deemed unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court. The current laws are expected to come under review as soon as this year.

The current laws allow companies based in Chicago and other metropolitan areas to take advantage of the lower sales tax rates in more rural counties, like Grundy County, by simply routing their purchasing orders through a phone based in that county.

Since companies were using those taxing strategies in Grundy County, the county stands to lose as much as $1.8 million in future tax revenues if the laws are changed.

Severson said Grundy County may want to help pay for the lobbyist group so officials can stay involved and informed about the legislation.

“We need to really actively work with them,” Heidi Miller, interim administrator and land use director for Grundy County, said during Monday’s meeting. “Aggressively going after some of these companies is important.”

While nothing was decided, Severson mentioned contributing as much as one-third of the $18,000.

Severson said there also is a possibility of offering property tax breaks to some of the Grundy companies affected by the new laws so they are encouraged to set up more substantial offices within the county.

“We want them to bring more staff or even bring the whole company,” Severson said.

The committee discussed meeting with Channahon officials and the recently-hired lobbyist group before contributing any funds.

The committee also discussed reaching out to state representatives and other governmental bodies in the state for support on the issue.

“This affects all of the counties and all of the cities in the state of Illinois,” Miller said. “It’s not just Grundy County.”

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