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Unpaid water, traffic bills could mean smaller tax refund in Illinois

by Jasmine Huda

KMOV.com

Posted on March 27, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 27 at 10:09 PM

COLLINSVILLE, Il. (KMOV) -- Illinois residents who fail to pay bills and traffic tickets might notice a smaller tax refund. Under the state’s new Debt Recovery Program, the state may withhold tax refund money owed to Chicago and other participating municipalities.

“I think most people are responsible and let us know what their forwarding address is primarily because we take a deposit from them. And they want their deposit back when they leave town,” Collinsville Finance Director Tamara Ammann said. “But those few that slip through the cracks, I think this will help us track some of them down.”

Amman said Collinsville recently joined the program. She said in the first week, her department learned $1,100 dollars was owed by 16 Collinsville residents.  Parking tickets, fines, and utility bills are among the debts owed.

It does not cost local governments anything to participate in the program. Ammann predicts other municipalities will soon take part if it means they get to recoup money owed to them.

Some residents support the idea of cracking down on debtors.

"In our society, we're always [spending] beyond our means, so I think it's probably a good lesson to cut back and pay your bills first before you do other things,” Collinsville resident Dawn McVickar said.

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