* The new state budget authorized $297 million in transfers out of the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax Fund, and that is having an impact on some school district which thought they would be held harmless like every other district when the new school funding reform bill was enacted…
“We certainly now have huge red numbers, because of the diversion of CPPRT and the estimate of this year compared to last year.” [said Vic Zimmerman, superintendent of Monticello schools] […]
CPPRT was created when local units of government gave up their power to tax businesses in 1979. It basically promises local government units, including schools, the same money they got in corporate and personal taxes from corporations back in the 1970s — even for companies that no longer exist. CPPRT isn’t much of a factor in funding school districts that never had big corporations in their areas. But in areas that had major manufacturing plants in the 1970s, CPPRT is crucial, as Zimmerman can attest.
“I was superintendent at St. Joseph-Ogden before I came here, and we got $30,000 in CPPRT,” he says. “Then I come over here and I see we’re getting, you know, $6.5 million, and I’m like: What’s this?”
In the 1970s, Monticello was home to Americana Healthcare, Illinois Power, and General Cable. During the height of the cable television boom, General Cable company supplied most of the fiber for the nation, Zimmerman says. Like Illinois Power, General Cable is long gone, but the amount of their tax contributions — frozen in CPPRT — added up to 40 percent of Monticello Schools’ budget.
Monticello will lose $900,000.
But, man, we sure have some weird laws in this state.