The typical Evanston residents makes more than the average Illinois resident — so Evanston gets a smaller share of its residents’ income tax payments returned under a state tax-sharing program.

That’s by design — the state’s local government distributive fund provides a flat per-capita payment to local governments — so towns with poorer residents get a larger share of the taxes their residents pay returned to them.

So while the average payment to communities statewide works out to 6 percent of taxes paid — relatively well off Evanston gets just 3.8 percent of its residents’ state income tax payments back.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewitz says Evanstonians paid $170,324,767 in state income taxes in 2012, the most recent year for which numbers are available, and got $6,603,795 back from the distributive fund.

The Daily Herald last week published an analysis of the tax data that showed a wide range of return rates — from as low as 1.3 percent in Oak Brook to as much as 17.9 percent in Waukegan.

The Herald quotes tax experts as saying the formula makes sense — because the cost of providing basic local government services is tied more closely to population than incomes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. When I turned 12 while living

    When I turned 12 while living in Idaho, I had to get a license plate for my bike to ride it in the street.  One of the requirements was to take a bicycle safety class (same type of class taken for getting a driver's license), pass a bike riding test set up in the back parking lot of the driver's license office and pass a written test before I got my license plate.  Since I have been in Evanston, I have seen 3 different bicyclists correctly use the turn/stop signals for other bicyclists and motorists; they are the only 3 that even attempted a turn signal of any type.  Even though they signaled their turn, they also checked for other vehicles before completing the turn, just as any motorists. 

    Bicyclists who travel against traffic is not being safer, in fact they are putting themselves and others in more danger.  A motorists will look in the direction of oncoming traffice before looking to see if anything is coming in the opposite direction. 

    Whether a bicyclists is travelling against traffice or coming up on parked cars, they are moving faster than a pedestrian walking and are not a visible to motorists when in blind spots.  When you pull out in front of moving vehicles at street speeds, they may not be able to react in time.

    As I am typing this at Panera on Church Street, I have seen one bicyclist in the bike lane going the correct direction, 2 bicyclists going the wrong direction and one bicyclist in the right lane.  I have watched 7 bicyclists fly down the sidewalk in front of me at street speeds, 2 were weaving in between pedestrians without a thought or care for safety.  Only 2 of the 7 were going East, all the others including the 2 weaving were going West. 

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