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Ordinance shifts 911 financial/contractual issues to county administration

The debate framed by the Rockford Register Star in last Sunday’s op-ed was that the Winnebago County 911 service has been caught up in political games. The editorial further opined that people don’t care about political fiefdoms, budget deficits or the color of squad cars dispatched when one’s life is literally on the line. The “wrangling” over the 911 service, as far as the county board is concerned, has been to keep the 911 Center functioning after the sheriff unilaterally announced he had cut the 911 budget by one-half and given the staff...

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Home rule disenfranchises Rockford taxpayers

Government is supposed to be of, by and for the people. Home rule is government “despite” the people. If home rule is approved, putting aside for the moment both sides marketing campaigns, Rockford taxpayers will effectively be giving up their vote for or against any future referendums on tax issues, debt or sunset clauses that provide the checks and balance to hold city officials financially accountable. Illinois’ Home Rule is a one-size-fits-all statute, unlike surrounding states, which allow local officials and the community to create a...

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Inmate lockdown lawsuits influence sheriff’s budget dispute

The number of lawsuits filed by the inmates against Winnebago County Sheriff Caruana currently stand at twenty-one with undoubtedly more on the way. This is the inmate’s response to an unanticipated upsurge in the number of lockdown hours triggered by the sheriff in the months immediately following the layoff of 10 correction officers. The lawsuits are identical except for the name of the inmate, suggesting an organized campaign to reduce the lockdowns. How did the county get into this position? First, county spending has exceeded revenues....

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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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