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Sheriff overspends budget without prior county board approval

Sheriff Caruana properly cautions that Winnebago County, especially Rockford, is in the midst of a violent crime crisis and that is why the board initiated, and some have continued to support the Justice Center bond restructuring, to provide additional funding to the Sheriff’s Office from the one percent Public Safety Sales Tax PSST. The Sheriff’s Office, however, has not followed the county budget process, as regulated by state statute 55 ILCS 5, which requires a simple majority of the county board to adopt a budget but two-thirds of the...

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Illinois taxpayers have had “Enough!”

On Wednesday, June 29, dozens of Illinois newspapers informed the General Assembly and their readers in an op-ed on the front page that the state has had “Enough!” and demanded that the budget standoff be resolved and resolved now. Illinois taxpayers are the ones who should be demanding, “Enough!” with the state currently spending $33 million tax dollars a day more than revenues. The crux of the fiscal crisis is uncontrolled, excessive overspending of any amount of tax revenue received by Springfield. Illinois taxpayers know that they will...

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Rockford’s proposed Property Tax Refund Program could cause tax rates to rise

Initially, the Rockford Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund Program appears to be a well-intentioned proposal to eliminate some of the blight in the city and to revitalize home values. The program gives property tax refunds for three years to those who build single-family homes, or buy foreclosed or “short-sale” homes as their primary residence, anywhere within the City of Rockford, if the homes are under contract by the end of the year. After the property owners, who purchase a qualifying home, pay their normal property taxes, the city will...

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Take advantage of college tax credit for middle class families

Your federal income taxes are due by April 15th. However, there’s still time to offset some of the costs of higher education by reducing the amount of your income tax by up to $2500 with an American Opportunity Tax Credit. According to an article, “Tax breaks for college costs,” published in the Rockford Register Star this past Valentine’s Day, you may reduce the amount of your income tax if you paid for a college student’s educational expenses in 2015 and you and the student meet certain eligibility requirements. A tax credit reduces the...

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Winnebago County is an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars

Last Sunday’s Rockford Register Star Opinion Section included a column written by recent county board appointee, David Boomer, describing his first experience/lesson in county government by impugning the financial integrity of Winnebago County officials. Most Winnebago County officials and staff were disappointed, to say the least, to see the county’s financial judgement compared to the reckless spending of Springfield and Washington, D.C., based on a single vote restructuring a portion of the 1% Public Safety Sales Tax (PSST) to help fund...

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Thousands of 2016 property tax bills will increase significantly (Part II)

To summarize Friday’s column, Rockford Township has significantly increased many township property assessments by resetting the overrides of successful complaints to the Winnebago County Board of Review, which have occurred since the last quadrennial assessment in 2011. Consequently, thousands of parcels have been assessed considerably higher than they were last year, and coupled with another increase in the township tax rate, will result in significant property tax increases in 2016. The tax rate is usually not determined until March of the...

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Thousands of 2015 property assessments have increased significantly (Part I)

If you filed a successful Real Estate Assessment Complaint Form in the last 4 years, and live in Rockford Township, chances are you will be shocked by your increased property assessment this year and the resultant increase in your property taxes next year. Quadrennial property assessments are calculated every four years on all properties in a county to determine the ad valorem taxes to be paid the following year, and township assessors are required, by law, to revalue all property within their jurisdiction. The overall Rockford Township...

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