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State Stix

Taxing contributions

The adage that it is better to give than to receive is an ill-fitting philosophy for the tax season, but Illinoisans have been giving dollars 10 check-off causes on the state income tax form since 1984. The IL-1040 offers taxpayers the opportunity to donate directly to a check-off charity all or part of their tax refunds, or more. On this year's tax form are the Alzheimer's Disease Research Fund, the Assistance to the Homeless Fund, the Child Abuse Prevention Fund, the Child Care Expansion Program, the Community Health Center Care Fund and the Non-Game Wildlife Conservation Fund.

Source: Department of Revenue.

Big spenders

Big spenders were spending their money elsewhere last year. Of the 6,240 Illinois taxpayers reporting an income of $1 million or more, only seven donated to the state income tax check-off causes. Most contributors, though, tended to have above-average incomes, had a home complete with spouse and children, and gave to more than one cause.

Source: Same as above.

Check-off changes

Unlike previous years, there is no longer a $10 per person limit per check-off contribution nor are contributions limited to tax refunds. Taxpayers not getting refunds could include their contribution in their tax payment to the state. More contributions are expected because of the changes.

Taxpayers opened their hearts and emptied their pocketbooks for three new causes on the form this year: the Child Care Expansion Program Fund, Community Health Center Care Fund and Assistance to the Homeless Fund.

Source: Same as above.

Charity adds up

The Department of Revenue had processed 1.3 million tax returns by April 10. The Child Abuse Prevention Fund netted the most of any fund, $107,125. Second was the Assistance to the Homeless Fund, $92,816. The Non-Game Wildlife Conservation Fund received $81,996; the Alzheimer's Disease Research Fund, $54,061; the Child Care Expansion Fund, $22,898; and Community Health Center Fund, $17,186. The April 10 total was $376,082.
Totals for previous years are:
1984 (for three causes) $936,591
1985 (for four causes) $821,771
1986 (for six causes) $730,231
1987 (for three causes) $640,062
1988 (for three causes) $833,664
1989 (for four causes) $766,129
Source: Same as above.

Urban birds

Two peregrine falcons hatched on a ledge on the 34th floor of the Northern Trust Building at 125 S. Wacker, thanks to taxpayers. The Non-Game Wildlife Fund has supported the five-year-old Chicago Peregrine Release Project to restore the population of the endangered birds. To simulate their natural habitat of cliffs, the captive-bred peregrines were released from lofty perches in the Chicagoland area. The study ends this year.

Source: Department of Conservation.

Housing the homeless

The homeless in Illinois equal about half the population of Springfield. Money donated to the homeless fund will help organizations feed and house them. Seventy-five percent of the money will benefit transitional housing centers across the state that provide shelter, job training and education.

Source: Department of Public Aid.

Battling garlic mustard

Some of the Non-Game Wildlife Fund will further an ongoing study of garlic mustard, a weed that chokes out woodland flowers. The Illinois Department of Conservation estimates $17,000 will be needed for the study of the weed's impact on wildflowers.

Source: Department of Conservation.

Endangered species

The Non-Game Wildlife Conservation Fund will support many programs. Among the studies to be funded by the conservation fund are a $5,000 study of the Mead's Milkweed, an endangered plant in Illinois, a $25,000 study to locate forest lands for reserve areas and a $17,000 study to locate endangered amphibians and reptiles in Illinois.

Source: Same as above.

Extinct funds

The causes can only be placed on the tax return with the OK of the General Assembly and can only remain on the tax return the following year by receiving at least $100,000 in donations from taxpayers. Six funds have been removed from the tax return since 1984 after failing to meet the $100,000 requirement. They include the Veteran's Fund, the Food and Housing Fund. the Mental Health Fund, the Assistance to the Blind Fund, the Olympic Fund and the Heritage Preservation Fund (a fund to protect historical documents).

Source: Department of Revenue.

Not exactly pulling the rabbit out of the hat

The general funds balance at the end of March was $194.790 million. The average daily available balance was $182.798 million.

Source: Office of the Comptroller.

Unemployment rates

The nation's seasonally adjusted umemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent in March after standing at 5.3 percent since December. In Illinois the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March fell to 5.5 percent, compared to 5.9 percent in February.

In March the Illinois labor force consisted of 6.001 million people (28,000 fewer than in February); 5.671 million were working (3,000 fewer) and 336,000 were hunting for jobs (25,000 fewer).

Over-the-year nonfarm employment (from March 1989 through March 1990) rose 0.9 percent, a record for the 12-month period. But manufacturing employment, which had enjoyed over-the-year gains for 36 months, lost 1,500 jobs (out of a total of 980,000) between March 1989 and March 1990. The drop in manufacturing employment was caused by seasonal layoffs in Rockford and the Chicago area, according to Department of Employment Security spokesperson Lynn Pierce.

Final unemployment rates in the state's major metro areas in January were:
Aurora-Elgin, 6.6 percent.
Bloomington-Normal, 4.6 percent.
Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul, 4.9 percent.
Chicago, 6.1 percent.
Davenport, Rock Island, Moline (Illinois sector), 7.8 percent.
Decatur, 8.2 percent.
Joliet, 7.8 percent.
Kankakee, 4.5 percent.
Lake County, 4.5 percent.
Peoria, 6.9 percent.
Rockford, 9.0 percent.
Springfield, 5.5 percent.
St. Louis (Illinois sector), 7.7 percent.

Source: Department of Employment Security.

Angie Watson

May 1990/Illinois Issues/3

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