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posted: 3/12/2012 12:20 PM

Gurnee budget forecasts sales, amusement tax revenue growth

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  • Six Flags Great America in Gurnee will debut state-of-the-art roller coaster X-Flight this season. Gurnee officials cite the coaster in projecting more amusement tax revenue in the tentative 2012-13 budget.

      Six Flags Great America in Gurnee will debut state-of-the-art roller coaster X-Flight this season. Gurnee officials cite the coaster in projecting more amusement tax revenue in the tentative 2012-13 budget.
    Courtesy of Six Flags Great America

 
 

Gurnee has a tentative $59 million budget for the next fiscal year starting in May that includes projections for growth in sales and amusement tax revenue.

Village board trustees and Mayor Kristina Kovarik have held two budget hearings in the past week. The elected officials will be asked to adopt the final document early next month.

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Running from May 1 through April 30, 2013, the next budget calls for $59 million in spending that includes an $8 million reimbursement to Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group for preparation work so a new Macy's department store can be built at Gurnee Mills. The $8 million comes from a loan received through a bond sale.

Gurnee's budget team projects sales tax receipts at $16.1 million for the new fiscal year, which would be up by $400,000 or 2.5 percent from the 2011-12 forecast. Gurnee is heavily dependent on local and state sales tax revenue because the village dropped its property tax in 2000.

Although Illinois residents are required to declare Internet purchases and pay a use tax, Gurnee officials express concern about how the law works in the tentative budget document. Officials state that consumers rarely report purchases and pay the appropriate sales taxes to the state.

"This issue is of critical importance to the village of Gurnee given its dependence on brick-and-mortar retailers," the budget states, "and it requires a national solution."

Six Flags Great America's expected unveiling of the X-Flight roller coaster is projected to add to the bottom lime for 2012-13 through the village's 3 percent amusement tax levied on various activities. Most of Gurnee's amusement tax is derived from Great America.

Amusement tax was pegged at $1.91 million in the 2011-12 budget. The village projects "an uptick" in that number for 2012-13.

X-Flight is highly anticipated because it is a groundbreaking "wing coaster" featuring cutting-edge technology. Gurnee officials say they expect interest from coaster enthusiasts nationwide because X-Flight will be only the second such ride in the United States.

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