Voting along party lines, State Senate approves CIRA tax change

Central Illinois Regional Airport
Central Illinois Regional Airport(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 7:33 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (25News Now) - The bill creating a larger taxing district to fund the Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA) in Bloomington-Normal is one step away from becoming law.

The Democratic-controlled Illinois Senate on Friday voted along party lines for expanding the taxing district to include all of McLean County, instead of just the Twin-Cities. Both the Senate and the Democratic-dominated Illinois House have now passed the measure, which is Senate Bill 684. It goes to Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, also a Democrat, for his signature.

The legislation creates a new property tax for McLean County landowners living outside Bloomington-Normal, while the property tax would be lowered for Twin Cities landowners. The chairman of the airport board said even with the change, the airport would collect the same amount of taxes.

Republicans opposed the bill, sponsored by David Koehler (D-Peoria). Senators voted 38-18, with three members not voting.

Opponents, including the McLean County Farm Bureau, say the issue of creating the taxing district should be decided by voters instead of the legislature.

The chairman of the McLean County Mayors Association, Spencer Johansen of Lexington, is hoping for a meeting with the governor to persuade him not to sign the bill.