A growing portion of Illinois' income tax revenue is coming from Chicago and the suburbs, new data from the Illinois Department of Revenue shows.
But are they getting their fair share back?
That's just one of the issues covered in this week's column, which also tallies gambling revenue in Antioch since the town became the first in the area to add video games at a grocery story, and which delves into how much Illinois is paying entertainers at the state fairs.
Carry that weight
Taxpayers in Chicago and the collar counties paid the majority of incomes taxes collected by the state in 2015 -- and that share is at its highest level in at least eight years, according to individual income tax data released this week by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
Seventy-one percent of income taxes paid by individuals in Illinois came from Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, totaling $14.2 billion.
That reflects a steady rise over at least eight years, from 68.7 percent in 2009.
Local governments don't get the same share back, however. A portion of income tax funds are sent back to local governments based on population, and the six counties contain less than 65 percent of Illinois residents.
And local government shouldn't expect to receive more from the state now that legislators have increased the individual income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.
Tucked into the tax hike law is a decrease in the local government share. Instead of getting 8 percent to split among themselves, local governments will get only 6.06 percent going forward.
And in this fiscal year only, the state is keeping another 10 percent of the local government share for itself.
That formula reduces the local governments share by nearly 32 percent, which is how much the individual income tax rate was increased.
When Antioch's Piggly Wiggly added four video gambling machines behind a new bar at the grocery store in June, village officials weren't thrilled, but they were looking forward to the additional revenue the machines would provide.
That's not exactly how things panned out.
Besides the Piggly Wiggly, two other restaurants in town added eight more video gambling machines to the 61 already in service in June.
But the $15,791 Antioch made in June from 73 gambling machines was the lowest amount since February, when there were only 50 machines, according to the Illinois Gaming Board.
The village made just $216 per machine in June, the lowest average amount over the past year, according to gaming board records.
The Piggly Wiggly machines generated only $658 for the village.
In April, the village had its best month for video gambling, taking in $18,033.
Local governments get 5 percent of the machines' revenues.
The rest is split among the business owners and machine operators, who get 35 percent of the profits each, and 25 percent goes to the state.
Sing us a song
The Illinois State Fair kicks off Thursday in Springfield.
The annual event's biggest draw is inarguably a life-size cow sculpted out of butter. But the fair's cadre of musical acts is often a close second when you ask fairgoers why they're there.
Country music star Brad Paisley is the highlight of the bevy of musicians gracing the fair's grandstand this summer.
Ticket prices top out at $65 for Paisley's Sunday gig, but that's because he is likely costing organizers the most.
Over the past four years, Illinois has paid musical acts performing at the state fairs in both Springfield and Du Quoin a combined total of more than $8.5 million. But state audits show the fairs have always made their money back and more.
During that time, country duo Florida Georgia Line was paid the most of any of the acts at $447,260 in 2014.
KISS received the most last year, with a paycheck of $410,500. Both country singer Dierks Bentley and pop star Meghan Trainor were paid $300,000 or more last year, according to records from the Illinois comptroller's office.
Others who were paid at least $300,000 for performing at the fair:
• Journey, $350,000 in 2013.
• Toby Keith, $328,380 in 2013.
• Fall Out Boy, $300,000 in 2015.
• Pitbull, $300,000 in 2014.
• John Mayer, $300,000 in 2013.
On average, the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the fairs, paid $1.8 million each year to musicians to entertain crowds at the Springfield fair and nearly $295,000 for musical acts at the Du Quoin event.
A link to a full list of the acts and their costs is attached to this story at dailyherald.com.
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