Limbs and branches, like carnage, were strewn over the lawn as the great Spring storms laid waste to the young landscape.  Beheaded Daffodils and decimated Tulips were part of the collateral damage as the rain soaked earth begged for mercy.  Small creeks and ponds swelled and spilled their banks.  Systems were completely overwhelmed, and still the rain continued.

Much like the rain soaked landscape, Illinois citizens, too, are begging for mercy as the state, once again, finds another way to tax its people.  Enter Senate Bill 9.

Senate Bill 9 (SB9) proposes to levy the state wide sales tax of 6.25% on internet streaming services, laundry, tanning, self-storage facilities and landscaping, to name a few.  In the past, services such as landscaping were tax exempt, but Illinois just can’t seem to keep their hands out of the coffers.  We may all thank State Senator Toi W. Hutchison (D) for proposing such an egregious and ridiculous bill.

According to Scott Grams, Executive Director with the Illinois Landscape Contractor’s Association (ILCA), the tax will be required on all landscape services, from mowing and maintenance, to design and install, to snow and ice removal, and everything in between.  “There are horrible ramifications, resulting in, many companies needing to raise their prices in a competitive market,” said Grams.

SB9 is part of a package of 13 bills, deemed the “grand bargain”, which is believed to raise taxes by 7 billion (yes, billion!) in an effort to close the budget deficit.  In other words, Illinois citizens are being asked to cough up more of their hard earned money while the state continues to spend uncontrollably.

To add insult to injury, Tom Johnson, president emeritus of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois, said, “Taxing services is a common sense place to start because it targets purchases made most often by those with more disposable income.”  Sadly, this is simply not true.

Landscaping has been singled out from ALL the other construction trades, and landscape services are not just purely for aesthetics or for those with disposable incomes.  Landscaping is also about storm water management and drainage, erosion control, soil health, and the mitigation of invasive and harmful species.  Further still, many Villages impose grandiose fines for lawns that are not mowed and maintained properly.  The truth is, the vast majority of landscape services are consumed by the middle class, not the wealthy.

Please reach out to your State Senator and “Say No” to this service tax on landscaping, or reach out to Sweeney’s for more information.  It’s bad for labor, it’s bad for business, and it’s bad for Illinois!

Plant of the Week

Photos of Carnival Watermelon Alumroot courtesy of Midwest Groundcovers

Carnival Watermelon Alumroot

Peach, pink and green foliage with silvery overlay mature to a bronzy-green. Dainty white, bell-shaped flowers sit atop long stems from April – May.  Prefers shade to partial sun and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 8-12″ tall and 12-18″ wide in a mounded form.  Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Salt & heat tolerant and deer resistant.

“Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”

-Calvin Coolidge

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney