Media Release from the Quad City International Airport
The Internal Affairs Committee of the Board of Commissioners for the Metropolitan Airport Authority discussed an Airport Staff recommendation regarding the utilization of tax levies authorized by state law. These tax levies are for specific purposes- auditing, pensions, unemployment insurance, social security, tort liability and workers compensation. In addition to the specific tax levies, there is a general fund or corporate fund levy with a cap which may not be exceeded. Currently the airport only uses the corporate fund levy to budget for expenses.
Illinois public policy and law views local government entities as limited forms of government, meaning that taxation is capped at a predetermined level, and local governments only have powers granted by the Illinois Constitution and the Legislature. No other powers are presumed. Statewide and within Rock Island County, separate tax levies by local government (municipalities, counties, school districts, etc.) are utilized for auditing, pensions, unemployment insurance, social security, tort liability and workers compensation in addition to a general fund tax levy. It seems obvious that legally required payments by local governments for auditing, pensions, unemployment insurance, social security, tort liability and workers compensation were not contemplated by the State to be part of the general fund tax levy, as the State provided separate and distinct tax levies for those expenses.
ISSUE FOR THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
The Board has been asked by staff to consider levying a tax under the available specific tax levies provided by law for auditing, pensions, unemployment insurance, social security, tort liability and workers compensation to conform our practices to those of other local governments in Rock Island County and statewide.
WILL TAXES INCREASE IF THE AIRPORT ADOPTS THE STAFF RECOMMENDATION?
The issue for the Board is limited to whether separate tax levies should be utilized. If the airport authority taxes the same total amount of money in the upcoming budget that was taxed for the current budget with the additional levies, then the answer is - no, taxes will not increase. If more money is sought for airport operations in the upcoming budget than in last year’s budget, then taxes would increase. Whether taxes will increase or remain the same will not be known until the upcoming budget is approved. It has been, and remains the policy of the Board of Commissioners for the Quad City International Airport to avoid increases and keep taxes as low as possible. In summary, tax increases or decreases are tied to the amount of money necessary for airport operations, not what levies are used to raise the money.
HOW DID THIS ISSUE ARISE?
Airport staff has been instructed by the Board to look for ways to either reduce operating costs or increase revenue for the airport so that the costs to the airlines operating at our airport can be reduced.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Quality air service depends on our airline partners to provide competitively-priced air service to destinations where consumers want to travel. To remain competitive, it is critical that our airport provide physical facilities and services to the airlines at a cost that is comparable to, or better than, other airports with whom we compete for customers. Like any business, airlines will provide the most air service in markets where they generate the highest profits. Lower costs for airlines is a part of this profit equation and is a key factor to insuring the future of our airport and subsequently, our community.