911 Tax Increase in Illinois for all Telephone Users

Written by Benjamin Yount

The fee that supports 911 systems across the state is going up under a law that lawmakers approved against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s wishes.

The law also keeps the 911 services operational statewide.

Outside of Chicago, phone users are going to pay $1.50 a month for 911 service. Chicago’s 911 fee will jump to $5 to pay for pensions, not 911 service.

State Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard), said it’s not that lawmakers wanted to end 911 services, they just wanted to settle on fair fees. But, Breen said, as is all too often the case in Illinois, the fee will cost people more than they need to pay.

“There was a commission that said we needed about $1.05, as a fee per month, in order to provide 911 service. Instead, we’re imposing a $1.50 fee,” he said. “Fifty percent more than we said we needed. There’s no good reason for it. It was a hijack at the last minute. It was Mike Madigan holding the 911 system of the state hostage so he could kick more money into the city of Chicago. … What you’re seeing is, yet again, Mike Madigan holding a critical state program hostage to his agenda of getting Chicago more cash and taking more money out of your pocket.”

Chicago’s 911 fee will increase from $3.90 a month to $5.

Downstate 911 fees will jump from 87 cents a month to a $1.50.

Gov. Bruce Rauner filed an amendatory veto on the legislation keeping 911 services operational statewide but reducing the fees to previous levels. Lawmakers voted to override the veto.

2016 study by The Tax Foundation said Illinoisans already paid the fourth-highest taxes in the nation for their cellphone service and noted such a fee hits the poor the hardest. With the latest fee increases, which go into effect immediately, Illinois is expect to get closer to the top of the rankings.

This article was originally posted at Illinois News Network.