010523CM0129SPRINGFIELD – Thanks to a measure from State Senator Laura Murphy local governments and municipalities have better tools to hold utility companies accountable for payments.

“Utility companies already collect this tax on behalf of municipalities—it’s just a question of whether the money gets where it’s supposed to go,” Murphy said. “This legislation would ensure local governments can depend on utility companies to hold up their end of the bargain.”

The legislation will hold utility companies accountable for gathering accurate sales data, reporting that data to municipalities, and giving municipalities the tax dollars they are owed. It also establishes a process by which municipalities can request tax information to perform an audit and settle disagreements regarding the amount of taxes owed.

The amount a municipality receives in utility tax dollars depends on the municipality's local charges and the amount in utilities used by customers within those municipalities. Under current law, if municipalities do not receive the funds they believe they are owed, the burden rests on the municipality to hire an auditor and determine the correct amount.

“Local governments shouldn’t have to spend years in court and pay thousands in legal fees to make sure utility companies pay up,” Murphy said. “Especially after the economic hardships of the past years, we have to make sure our communities receive the dollars they’re owed.”

Senate Bill 1794 passed both chambers with bipartisan support and awaits the governor’s signature before becoming law.