When voters in Rock Island County head to the polls next week, they will vote on a controversial item at the bottom of the ballot.
On Tuesday, March 18th, 2014, people will vote "yes" or "no" on a 1% county sales tax. A 1% sales tax increase means people would pay a penny more for every dollar that they spend at restaurants, for instance. If passed, the money would go to facility improvements at schools in Rock Island County.
However, those against the tax say it could hurt the local economy on the Illinois side of the river and help the Iowa side.
"I don't see why we should be raising taxes here when there are five bridges enabling our consumers to spend their money across the river in Scott County," says Lawrence Bay, who lives in Port Byron, Illinois.
If passed, Bay says the sales tax in Moline and Rock Island would go up to 8.5% and the sales tax in restaurant would go up to 10%. Iowa's sales tax is 7%.
"The worst thing you can do is raise taxes when there's an easy escape patch," says Bay.
"There are far more Illinois cars in the parking lots in Davenport than there are on this side of the river," says Richard Phillis, who lives in Milan, Illinois.
Phillis says he already sees a switch happening since the price of gas is lower in Iowa.
"If you go to a gas station in Iowa, you go to restaurants in Iowa. You go to NorthPark Mall versus SouthPark Mall."
Bay and Phillis both say they support the schools and if there has to be a tax, they want the money to go to academics and not facilities.
"It's what's goes on inside those buildings, not the buildings themselves," says Bay.
"There's a finite number of dollars that are available and the school systems need to address what's really important - reading, writing, arithmetic, etc." says Phillis.
Both also say if schools need some money, the answer is not a tax.
Bay says we have to bring taxes down and the only way to do that is by streamlining government from the state level to the local level, even in the school districts.
"We have extra layers of bureaucracy in the schools," he says. "We have the Regional Superintendent. We have the District Superintendent. Then, we have the Principals and in Iowa, they have more streamlined governments."
"Our base taxes are higher, because here in Rock Island County, we have 25 county board members whereas in Scott County they only have five. We also have 30 townships with their layers of Township Supervisors, Trustees, Clerks, etc."
Phillis says any local monetary problem cannot be solved until the state's finances are fixed.
"With the terrible financial status of the state of Illinois, the local system will not be benefitted until that's taken care of."
For more information on both sides of this issue, you can visit these websites:
Vote No 2 Tax: http://voteno2tax.blogspot.com/
YES Makes Sense For Students: https://www.facebook.com/YESMakesCentsForStudents