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.