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Minimum wage increase will not boost Illinois economy

Raising the minimum wage will not boost the Illinois economy. Businesses must pay competitive wages regardless of the overwhelming support of 2 out of 3 Illinois voters for the non-binding minimum wage referendum in the November . Businesses cannot base their business decisions on a majority vote of the people. It’s not government’s job to determine the wages paid by private business. Private wages must be competitive or the business will close unless it raises prices; notwithstanding the prevailing wage for government projects. The General...

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Several Rockford districts will not raise property tax levy in 2015

The Illinois Tax Cap law allows taxing districts – the schools, the city, the county, etc. – to collect the same amount of property taxes as they did the previous year, plus inflation up to 5%, even as property values decline, by permitting the districts to raise their tax rates to their statutory limits without referendum. Winnebago County accounts for approximately 7.4% of the total property tax bill, while the city and the school district account for ten times that amount – 73.6% of the total tax bill. The county’s tax levy has...

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Municipal budgets should balance services provided with taxpayers’ ability to pay

Winnebago County’s fiscal year budget, which began October 1, 2014, was approved at the county’s last meeting in September. The budget process, however, doesn’t end with budget approval; the process continues throughout the year. The City of Rockford and the Rockford School District will complete their budget process by the end of the year. The county represents approximately 7.4% of property tax bills, while the city represents 22.0% and the school district is 51.6%. As Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Rockford School District, Rock...

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Tax loophole allows property taxes to bypass statutory limits.

The Illinois tax cap law allows taxing districts to collect the same amount of property taxes as the previous year, plus inflation up to 5%, even as property values decline, by allowing the districts to raise their tax rates without referendum. This year, the Rockford School District reached state statutory limits for their Education Fund at $4.00, the Special Education Fund at $0.80, the Operation and Maintenance Fund at $0.75 and an additional $0.15 for Working Cash and Fire & Safety Funds. These statutory limits were reached despite...

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Winnebago County developing a plan of action for bears and other wild animals

A six-foot, 250 pound black bear has been spotted roaming throughout Winnebago County and at least three other counties. The state’s plan of action seems to be – let the bear move along, there’s nothing to see here, folks – not yet! This type of animal sighting, on people’s property, has been an infrequent occurrence in our county, but with population centers impinging upon these animal’s habitats, it’s likely to become more common. However, the reasons for the bear’s displacement and wanderings in our area are...

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Increase in Rockford property tax rate, does not always increase tax levy

Two short years ago, the tax rate in Rockford broke the $12.00 barrier. When Rockford area property owners receive their tax bills early next week, they will be shocked to see the tax rate per hundred dollars of assessed valuation for tax code 001 is now $14.0023. Tax code 001 includes Rockford School District, the City of Rockford, Winnebago County, the Park District, and Rock Valley College, the Rockford Library, Rockford Township, the airport and numerous smaller municipalities. An unintended consequence of the PTELL tax cap law, allows...

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Senior Citizen Exemption increased – reduces this year’s property taxes!

Many elderly homeowners are not aware of the property tax exemptions and programs available to Illinois senior citizens. Various programs, including the Senior Citizen Exemption, reduce property taxes for qualified seniors with applications and guidelines available from the Winnebago County Supervisor of Assessments Office. The Senior Citizen property tax exemption has been raised from $4000 to $5000 reducing this year’s property tax bill for taxpayers over 65 years of age. With the Rockford area tax rate approaching $14.00 per hundred of...

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