With Colleges Closed, College Towns Can't Pay Their Bills

Governing: Last summer, the city council in Champaign, Ill., increased the local food and beverage tax for the first time in two decades. It was a substantial hike – jumping from 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent – and was expected to bring in $6 million to pay for more firefighters and school programs for at-risk kids.

The tax increase took effect on March 1. The University of Illinois – far and away Champaign’s largest employer – shut down in-person instruction on March 17. Business at bars and restaurants dried up immediately.

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