Students reflect voter opinion on Champaign sales tax increase

David Saveanu

Staff Writer

A survey of  randomly-selected Parkland students conducted by the Prospectus found a majority of Parkland students were on the same side as Champaign County voters regarding the recently-shot-down sales tax increase proposition.

Eight out of 10 Parkland students surveyed were against the 0.25-cent sales tax increase proposal. This reflects the prevailing opinion of county voters, who voted down the proposition with a 70 percent majority.

The idea had been proposed in the past without much support, because of what the tax dollars could be used to fund; an argument against the proposition was that extra taxes collected from said increase would go towards jail maintenance and upgrade expenditures rather than to programs meant to reduce crime and the number of people incarcerated in the county.

These ideas were posed by the opposing party, which believe the tax dollars will not impact the voters directly.

Many surveyed Parkland students did not seem interested in said expenditures and did not support a higher tax on their goods, because of their lack of support to the causes explained on the ballot.

Urbana democrat Chris Alix says sales taxes increases are most always viewed with an unfavorable eye by the general public.

“I don’t think it’s likely to pass because it’s a sales tax referendum,” he said. “Tax referenda are unlikely to pass, even under the best circumstances.”

The average household would spend approximately $18.35 extra each year, reports the News-Gazette, which may have been a factor in the students’ decision to not support the proposition. The tax wouldn’t have been applied to food, medicine, or licensed vehicles.

The proposition is planned to hit the ballots again in the spring, with proponents hoping to see a different reaction on the part of voters. They say the sales tax increase can help to improve county government facilities and infrastructure.