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Higher taxes will again prove futile in resolving state fiscal crisis

The League of Women Voters in a recent op-ed demanded passage of the proposed increase in Illinois income taxes by over $5B annually; broadening the sales tax to include services; the LWV conventioneers didn’t agree with freezing local property taxes but were in favor of levying a state income tax on senior’s retirement income. The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago also envisions raising individual and corporate tax rates and extending the individual income tax to retirement income, just as Illinois Senate President Cullerton,...

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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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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a clause in a 2011 ordinance, that pledged when the bonds were retired in 2018, the one-half cent sales tax would be repealed – a sunset clause.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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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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TIF approval removes taxpayers from portion of process

About 18 months ago, I posted concerning the Joint Review Board (JRB), consisting of non-elected representatives from specified local taxing districts, convened by the city to determine if newly proposed Rockford Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts meet the eligibility requirements of municipal state code. The board consists of 9 members, one selected from each – Community College, school district, park district, library district, township, fire protection district, the county, the municipality requesting the TIF, all of which have...

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Rockford Public Library’s amnesty too lenient with taxpayer’s money

An inexcusable 62% of the library’s  57,554 cardholders owe the library for overdue returns or lost items. That’s far too many people to consider amnesty – 35,684, who owe fines and/or have not returned books and other devices! To put this embarrassment into its proper perspective, tardy or dropout library patrons don’t owe the library a thing. They owe the taxpayers who fund the library. It’s our money that’s being abused and our books and devices that haven’t been returned, not the city’s....

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