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Fire & School Districts Say Air Force Base|Leaseholders Should Pay Fair Share of Taxes

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) - A school district and fire department asked a state judge to broaden an Illinois law and allow them to levy real estate tax on Scott Air Force Base leaseholders, to help the plaintiffs pay for fire protection and school services for military personnel.

Mascoutah Community Unit School District No. 19 and O'Fallon, Shiloh Valley, Caseyville Township Fire District asked the St. Clair County Court to expand a state law that allows a political subdivision to charge real estate tax on a private entity's leasehold on federally owned property.

Public Law 94-974 is designed to provide revenue so that government entities, including schools and fire departments, can provide essential services to military personnel.

But the law applies only to private leaseholds on naval training and naval support facilities - namely, the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago.

The plaintiffs want defendant Scott Air Force Base Properties subjected to the same taxes.

"Real estate taxes are not being imposed on the defendant, at present time, because the State of Illinois Department of Revenue has ruled that the interest enjoyed by the defendant in the federally owned property at Scott Air Force Base is exempt from payment of taxes; if Public Law 94-974 had been drafted according to the dictates of the State of Illinois Constitution there is no question but that the LLC would be required to pay real estate taxes to the school district and the other governmental entities party to this suit," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs want the court to strike down the section of the law that allows only privately leased property on naval training and naval support facilities to be subject to real estate tax.

The plaintiffs are represented by Daniel Hayes.

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