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Home rule, no financial panacea for struggling Illinois municipalities

A four part survey by Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies found that several significant changes occurred in home rule municipalities between 1986 and 2002. First and foremost, there was a very significant increase in the use of home rule taxing powers. Additional retail sales taxes were increased in 61% of the home rule cities, and property tax statutory limits were exceeded by two in five home rule municipalities. The study concluded that, “Clearly, taxation has become a major use of municipal home rule powers...

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S.A.F.E. attacks county board on sheriff’s budget – lack sufficient information

The S.A.F.E. group is again personally attacking those members of the Winnebago County Board, who are trying to hold the line on property taxes to balance a 2018 budget deficit of $6.9 million. Our board members are accused of being against public safety simply because some members disagree with S.A.F.E’s position on the amount of funding for the sheriff’s office, basing their position on data prior to the time Sheriff Caruana took office. Let’s look at facts, not threats! The starting point for the sheriff’s 2018 budget discussion logically...

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Fair and equitable school funding must eliminate PTELL and TIF subsidies

For years, many have sought an equitable and fair funding formula for Illinois school district finances. Senate Bill 1 is not that solution despite numerous educational leaders, politicians and media endorsements of the bill’s passage by overriding the governor’s amendatory veto. SB1 retains the most unfair and inequitable practices within the current school funding formula – subsidies related to Illinois’ Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) or Tax Caps and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts. Most don’t realize that after...

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Madigan had to pass budget to find out what’s in it

Recalling Illinois’ past record, everyone must know that Madigan and company’s new budget will not solve the state’s financial crisis. Springfield will continue to spend the additional $5 billion a year, just as they squandered most of the $32 billion extra tax dollars collected during the last temporary income tax hike. Madigan’s budget permanently increases the income tax rate to 4.95% from 3.75% and corporate income tax increases to 7% from 5.25%. No, the personal income tax increase is not 1.2% as some local proponents suggest; it’s a...

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Higher taxes will again prove futile in resolving state fiscal crisis

The League of Women Voters in a recent op-ed demanded passage of the proposed increase in Illinois income taxes by over $5B annually; broadening the sales tax to include services; the LWV conventioneers didn’t agree with freezing local property taxes but were in favor of levying a state income tax on senior’s retirement income. The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago also envisions raising individual and corporate tax rates and extending the individual income tax to retirement income, just as Illinois Senate President Cullerton,...

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Increased property tax exemptions shifts tax burden without relief

On April 6, 2017, the Illinois House passed HB0156 by an overwhelming vote of 108 to 1 expecting to provide much needed property tax relief in state counties by increasing the value of numerous property tax exemptions. Basically, the two most substantial exemptions approved would increase the exemption for seniors over the age of 65 to $6000 annually from the current $5000 and the General Homestead/Owner Occupied exemption to $8000 from the current $6000. Other exemptions increased in the bill would have much less impact on taxing districts...

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Rockford property tax rate decreases for first time in ten years

Rockford property tax bills, which are scheduled to be mailed to taxpayers this Tuesday, May 2, 2017, will show a slight decrease in the tax rate for the first time in 10 years, due to an increase in the overall Winnebago County property values. The total Winnebago County Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) increased by over $54M dollars over the previous year’s EAV of $4.227B dollars. The first installment of the 2016 property taxes is due June 2, 2017 with the second installment due on September 1, 2017. The last time the property tax rate...

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