State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) is questioning whether overpayments given to local governments and school districts several years ago was simply an accident. During fiscal 2014, former Governor Pat Quinn’s administration paid at least $168 million extra in Personal Property Replacement Tax funds (PPRT) to local governments and school districts, according to data recently turned up by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
“We’ve already seen with Gov. Quinn’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative that money appeared to be doled out to certain areas and certain programs in and around Chicago in order to boost support for Governor Quinn’s re-election,” Rezin said. “We see a strong similarity here with the Personal Property Replacement Tax. Millions of dollars in extra money was sent to Chicago and many areas where Democrats are the majority. This seems suspicious.”
The overpayments included more than $23 million to Chicago schools and almost $20 million to the City of Chicago.
“This is either incompetence under the Quinn administration or a deliberate attempt to funnel more money to Chicago,” Rezin said. “I have already heard from several of my superintendents and other local leaders who say they cannot afford to pay back this money. At a time where local governments and school districts’ budgets are already extremely tight, this is the last thing they should have to deal with.”
The overpayments appear to have been caused following a switch to new reporting forms. According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, the issue was discovered during the agency’s implementation of a new general ledger system. Ten taxing districts received overpayments of more than $1 million. Most were much smaller, including 5,291 taxing districts which received less than $10,000 in overpayments.
Connie Beard, the Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue says, “We will be working with the impacted taxing districts to establish a plan to recapture the funds over an extended period of time.”
“Governor Rauner is very sensitive to the impact this could have on local governments and school districts,” Rezin said. “They will do everything they can to make sure this situation doesn’t devastate anyone.”
In Sen. Rezin’s 38th Senate District, hundreds of local governments or school districts now owe thousands more than $100,000 in repayments.