Business owner concerned over new amusement tax in East Moline

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EAST MOLINE, Ill. The City of East Moline passed a new amusement tax that affects some businesses in the city. The new ordinance creates a tax on the fees or charges for admission at events like theater, concerts or races.

The new amusement tax was passed by the city council on Monday, March 4. It creates a three percent tax on admission prices for entertainment businesses in East Moline.

The owner of Skate City QCA said he’s concerned.

"It's probably going to hurt my customer base. And our bottom line in the end because they're going to have to pay more in our facility where they're not going to have to pay that going to other facilities," Kyle Cord said.

Cord said he was surprised when he got a notice about the new tax from the city in the mail.

"They had the city council meeting on Monday March 4th. Wednesday I checked the mail on the 6th and I had the notice for an amusement tax at three percent for admissions, rentals, gaming, etc.," Cord said.

While he doesn't want to raise prices, he says he doesn't have a choice.

"We have regulars here on a weekly basis so they'll be paying more for admissions, skate rentals and at the snack bar because these taxes aren't just something we can absorb. We just can't afford it," he said.

Members of city council say the tax is needed as the area around the newly developed bend grows, but cord thinks it goes too far.

"One thing that bothers me a little is that I feel like as far as amusements go, we are the only facility in East Moline," Cord said.

Despite the new tax, Cord remains positive and hopes it won't impact his customers from coming back.

"It's a great facility. As I said, we hope to continue offering this facility for years and years to come," he said.

Councilman J.R. Rico of the 7th ward said the purpose of the new tax is to help the city’s budget, and create some revenue, after the loss of the Case IH plant, which closed in 2004 after 77 years in business.

The tax’s main target is The Rust Belt, which opened for business earlier this year. It’s a music venue capable of holding 4,000 people. Rico said the city wants to be able to profit off of concert goers, which the city believes will mainly come from out of town.