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Boone County Board destroys future credibility

If there was ever an action taken by an elected body that eliminated any lingering trust in elected official’s credibility, look no further than the Boone County Board majority. In order to aid the passage of a 1999 referendum for construction bonds to fund a $9.3 million dollar jail expansion, members of the Boone County Board and bond proponents promised voters, and added a clause in a 2011 ordinance, that pledged when the bonds were retired in 2018, the one-half cent sales tax would be repealed – a sunset clause. In March, 2015, the Boone...

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Governor, pass budget reforms before shifting funds or transferring local fund reserves

Chuck Sweeny writes in the Rockford Register Star, “With Illinois on the verge of running out of money to pay day care centers, court reporters and prison guards, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thursday a solution can be found easily, by shifting money from the state’s hundreds of special funds into the General Fund.” Governor, isn’t skimming off special fund monies to support day care, court reporters, prison guards and other “essential” General Fund services the same excuse your predecessors, Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn used? Wasn’t this...

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Much improvement needed in RSD205 to provide foundation for Transform Rockford

Currently, many positive things are happening in the Rockford School District. The community is providing $250M over the next ten years for elementary school facilities, new high school classrooms and field houses, renovated libraries and new school buildings, providing an environment conducive to learning. The district is also implementing new educational concepts such as career academies, the business and industrial communities are becoming involved with schools through the Rockford Alignment process and volunteering for United Way’s “I...

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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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