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Tax Caps provide backdoor referendum in decreasing home market

Comments on my post concerning the lower income elderly paying more in taxes even though their assessments were frozen and their property was decreasing in value prompted me to post the following clarification.

Property taxes should pay for the services the taxpayers decide they want, not what legislators’ mandate, and then don’t fund. Salaries for teachers, police, firemen, drivers, infrastructure etc. should not be paid for through backdoor referendums, such as tax caps (PTELL), which don’t require the people’s input.

The tax caps people wanted, and what the General Assembly originally intended, was supposed to limit what municipalities could collect to the amount they had collected the previous year, plus the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever was less. Taxpayers didn’t want the taxing bodies to get taxes based on unlimited property appreciation plus the rate of inflation, which was happening at the time.

With the current depreciation of property, the taxes should go down unless the people approve an increase – that’s the way taxpayers wanted tax caps to work. A few legislators have tried to limit taxes in a decreasing market, but the municipalities screamed bloody murder!

Bureaucrats believe that they know better than the people what services should be provided, even in tough economic times, regardless of what the people can afford to spend or want to spend.

So, they are now using an anomaly in the tax cap law, with decreasing property values, to receive all revenue they got before, plus inflation, by raising the tax rate forcing the elderly, who have a frozen assessments, to pay more even though their property is decreasing in value, until the value of their property sinks below the frozen base value.

Using tax caps, no elected official or bureaucrat has to stand on the merits of their expenditures, when the law simply allows them to raise taxes on decreasing home values, without even voting for the increase.

This is not an action taken by a republic; it is unelected bureaucrats and lawyers figuring out ways (mandates) to create more government jobs at the taxpayer’s expense.

Even though taxpayers do elect the officials who will represent them, these officials are usually elected for four years, there is no recall vote in Illinois and a lot of tax damage can be done in four years.

The big picture to most people is that most government officials will take whatever taxes they are allowed to take by law.  Taxpayers don’t need an additional law, PTELL, which allows elected officials to take more taxes without at least having those officials vote on it or at least present all the facts.

Real Estate ad valorem taxes may not be the correct method to pay for government services, but whatever method is used, the taxpayers should have a choice in how much is spent and it should never be left up to those who directly benefit from those taxes in wages and benefits!

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