* Bob Grey is the president of the Citizens Club of Springfield and sits on the city’s Citizens’ Efficiency Commission. He sent this out today…
An initial finding of the [Citizens’ Efficiency Commission] was the discovery of a 2% tax on out-of-state companies selling fire insurance in Illinois.
This Foreign Fire Insurance Fund, which the state does not call a tax and does not collect, generates dollars that the Illinois Municipal League collects for downstate fire departments and distributes (after taking several thousands in fees) directly to a committee of firemen with no oversight, review or accountability by any public officials.
The [Springfield Fire Department] ’slush fund’ totaled about $1 M over the past 4 years. This would rank with the worst public policy in Illinois history.
* That’s definitely a biased interpretation. But what is the Foreign Fire Insurance tax? The Municipal League explains on its website…
The Illinois Foreign Fire Insurance Fund is distributed by the state of Illinois Muncipal League. The Municipal League collects insurance taxes from companies outside of the State of Illinois. Those funds are distributed to fire departments across the state to provide for the needs of the departments as the department sees fit to compensate for what is not provided by the municipality.
* The firefighters are trying to shed some light on how much is distributed to municipalities each year and how much the Illinois Municipal League’s cut really is, so they have a bill…
Any entity that maintains a website and that is charged with the collection of a tax or license fee and the rendering of the tax or license fee to the treasurer of the foreign fire insurance board or fire protection district secretary must publish to its website by the first day of August of each year the following information for the year ending on the preceding first day of July:
(1) the total amount of the tax or license fee collected on behalf of each municipal fire department or fire protection district;
(2) the total administrative fees, if any, charged to each municipal fire department or fire protection district;
(3) the aggregate amount of taxes or license fees collected on behalf of all municipal fire departments or fire protection districts; and
(4) the aggregate amount of administrative fees, if any, charged to each municipal fire department or fire protection district.
The bill hasn’t moved yet, but it may advance later in the session.