Increased property tax exemptions shifts tax burden without relief

On April 6, 2017, the Illinois House passed HB0156 by an overwhelming vote of 108 to 1 expecting to provide much needed property tax relief in state counties by increasing the value of numerous property tax exemptions. Basically, the two most substantial exemptions approved would increase the exemption for seniors over the age of 65 to $6000 annually from the current $5000 and the General Homestead/Owner Occupied exemption to $8000 from the current $6000. Other exemptions increased in the bill would have much less impact on taxing districts...

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Illinois taxpayers have had “Enough!”

On Wednesday, June 29, dozens of Illinois newspapers informed the General Assembly and their readers in an op-ed on the front page that the state has had “Enough!” and demanded that the budget standoff be resolved and resolved now. Illinois taxpayers are the ones who should be demanding, “Enough!” with the state currently spending $33 million tax dollars a day more than revenues. The crux of the fiscal crisis is uncontrolled, excessive overspending of any amount of tax revenue received by Springfield. Illinois taxpayers know that they will...

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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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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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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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