- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a Moline-based aviation company is entitled to a state property tax break being challenged by a local school district.

The high court will review an 3rd District Appellate Court decision that struck down Elliott Aviation’s tax break as an unconstitutional violation of the state’s special legislation clause, the Quad-City Times (bit.ly/1Id4QTD ) reported.

The Moline-Coal Valley School District sued after state lawmakers approved and then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation in February 2013 exempting fixed-base operators leasing land at the Quad City International Airport from taxation.

The approval came after Elliott Aviation announced expansion plans but said it was also considering a site in Des Moines, Iowa. A lower court in Rock Island County initially sided with the aviation company.

The school district argued the tax break could unfairly cost it $150,000 annually.

“This is the last stage,” said district comptroller Dave McDermott. “We hope to gain the necessary dollars to continue providing a quality education to our students.”

After the tax break’s approval, Quinn joined company officials to announce a $1.8 million expansion that would add 50 jobs. The 77-year-old company employs more than 200 workers.

Elliott Aviation President Greg Sahr said the company is “pleased the Illinois Supreme Court accepted the appeal” in a case that could have financial implications for school districts and cities across the state.

The appellate court suit involved several defendants from the Rock Island County Board of Review and assessors from Rock Island County, Blackhawk Township and Coal Valley Township. Elliott Aviation was not a defendant, but the company was given the right to intervene in the case.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com

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