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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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Is it time to get rid of Tax Caps?

Property tax bills have arrived and it is obvious that the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law – PTELL – commonly known as the Property Tax Cap Law, is not working as intended. PTELL was supposed to protect property owners in non-home rule districts from huge tax increases when home values were increasing very rapidly by limiting taxing districts to the taxes levied the previous year plus inflation up to 5% and an additional amount for new construction. The law was not intended to hurt taxpayers by increasing property taxes, even as...

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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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