Thursday, February 9, 2012
Well, surprise, surprise! We’ve been back in the “Land of Lincoln” for just a week now and we’re already finding out that during our six-month absence, there have been a few changes. These are changes that could end up affecting our wallet either directly or indirectly and did not make for the most pleasant of homecomings.
Here are the three big items we’ve stumbled across already (one of which came only minutes into our entering the state) in what has been just our first week back.
Just minutes into our homeward bound journey to Illinois, we were greeted with our first new costs of once again being back in the great state of Illinois. A flashing sign just across the state line informed us that tolls were increasing as of January 1, 2012. Since we were traveling on January 4th, this meant that we were several days late, and now several more dollars short.
Come to find out, there was a 100% increase for driving on the toll roads in the Chicagoland area, which is a common occurrence for both commuters and just passers-by. The average toll rate per mile (for travelers with the I-PASS automated toll payment system) has gone from 3 cents to 6 cents per mile.
Thankfully, since I work from home and my wife’s route to work avoids the toll roads, this isn’t a huge cost (typically running us around $60 a year in toll fees…guess it’ll be closer to $120 now); however, it’s an additional cost nonetheless, and one that was certainly unexpected.
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune newspaper, Allstate is looking to hike rates anywhere from 4-10% on some Illinois homeowners due to string of catastrophic damage suffered in many areas during 2011. Since we are looking to rent, this might not seem like a big deal. However, we have to consider that while we might not be suffering due to this increase directly, we may have to account for it in higher rental rates should the building in which we choose to live have its insurance rates increased. With those rates possibly being passed along to tenants, we could end up suffering just as certain homeowners might by way of increased rent or even higher renters insurance.
Income Tax Hike
Oh yes, and don’t let me forget about that little income tax increase to the tune of 66%. Yep, that’s right. I said “66%”.
Income tax in the state of Illinois moved from 3% to 5% this year to help bolster the state’s budget shortfall. Isn’t that nice! Since the politicians and state government can’t manage to be fiscally responsible, it once again falls upon the taxpayers to help them out. So now Illinois taxpayers can look forward to paying hundreds, if not thousands of extra dollars in income taxes each year.
Even though my wife and I were only part-year residents, the higher tax rate will still likely increase our state income tax bill by several hundred dollars this year.
Illinois Tollway. Toll information page. http://www.illinoistollway.com/tolls-and-i-pass/toll-information
Yerak, Becky. Chicago Tribune. “Insurance rates surge on disasters”. January 12, 2012.