Mount Prospect beats state deadline for push tax on video gambling
In a move to beat a deadline set by Springfield, Mount Prospect trustees voted Sunday to preserve their right to charge a penny-per-push tax on video gambling.
Their vote Sunday came during one of several hastily called municipal meetings across the suburbs this weekend as officials rushed to act before the taxes are banned by the state.
Shortly before 1 a.m. Friday, the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation prohibiting municipalities from adopting the tax after Sunday.
Mount Prospect Finance Director Amit Thakkar said the village's ordinance would be effective May 1. That will give trustees time to decide whether to move forward with the tax or not.
If they move forward, the tax could raise as much as $78,000 a year, which could be applied toward property tax relief, Thakkar said.
"We are not sure about the all the aspects of this ordinance," he added. "We want to get some more data. We want to get some more analysis done."
Mayor Paul Hoefert, who previously opposed video gambling in Mount Prospect, said now that it is allowed in town, it is "natural" to impose the push tax.
"The state is trying to usurp our home rule power," he said. "Today, we should vote and pass this to preserve our home rule power."
Thakkar said there are 73 licensed gambling terminals in Mount Prospect, from which the village collects $73,000 in yearly terminal fees. That money goes to the general operating fund, which pays for services such as police, fire and public works.
The village collects about $102,000 more in taxes on revenue collected by gambling machines.
Trustees Richard Rogers and John Matuszak joined Hoefert voting in favor of the tax. Trustee Augie Filippone voted against the ordinance. Absent were trustees Colleen Saccotelli, Terri Gens, and Peggy Pissarreck.
"I always tell people, 'Look, I'm not out here to nickel and dime you,'" Filippone said. "But now, we're literally pennying people."
Noting that some trustees voted against gambling in the village in 2018, Filippone said he is concerned about the tax's aspect of "having your cake and eating it, too."
"If your policy is that you're not for this, then how can you be for the money that comes out of that?" he asked.