Effingham builder calls proposed tax another political pratfall
Marty Stock can’t see the logic in putting more roadblocks in the path of those striving to make their living in the home repair industry.
“Illinois already ranks near the bottom of all states in new home construction per capita,” the president of the Effingham Area Home Builders Association told the West Central Reporter. “I just don’t understand why you would throw in even more obstacles into the mix.”
What Stock sees as the latest impediment is a proposed 6.25 percent sales tax lawmakers are considering attaching to home repairs, landscaping, dry cleaning and the use of storage facilities.
The measure is part of a collection of 12 bills known as the “grand bargain” that lawmakers are still weighing as a solution to the state’s two-year budget impasse.
Stock also laments how the proposed tax could produce even more work and expenses for small-business owners across the industry.
“Many of them would be left to figure out all the new taxes they have to pay,” he said. “It’s even possible they could end up having to add an entirely separate line item to get the job done.”
Others have said the measure could cost the state as much as $47 million a year in revenue from home repair and maintenance work, as well more than 500 industry jobs. Stock agrees with critics who argue that the tax would bring in a minimal amount compared with other proposals.
Bill Ward, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Illinois, said the home repair tax would raise roughly $45 million, while the previously proposed penny-per-ounce sugary beverage tax would have generated at least $400 million.
“They’re trying to cut a deal, so I guess both sides have to give up something,” Stock said. “It all just comes back to politics.”
The home repair tax is sponsored by Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields), who has stressed the measure is needed to help pull the state out from under its estimated pile of $13 billion in debt.