Home rule, no financial panacea for struggling Illinois municipalities

A four part survey by Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies found that several significant changes occurred in home rule municipalities between 1986 and 2002. First and foremost, there was a very significant increase in the use of home rule taxing powers. Additional retail sales taxes were increased in 61% of the home rule cities, and property tax statutory limits were exceeded by two in five home rule municipalities. The study concluded that, “Clearly, taxation has become a major use of municipal home rule powers...

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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a clause in a 2011 ordinance, that pledged when the bonds were retired in 2018, the one-half cent sales tax would be repealed – a sunset clause.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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Municipal alliances not always advantageous for taxpayers

According to a recent article  in the Rockford Register Star, Rockford is joining with fellow industrial cities, Peoria, Aurora and Danville to form an alliance to lobby state legislators for solutions to common urban problems in the areas of education, poverty, and crime. Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis believes there is power in numbers and more could be accomplished with a group of municipalities lobbying Springfield legislators. The coalition could eventually include 10 to 12 cities representing over a million people. However, these cities are...

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Property tax rate estimated to increase to $14 dollars next year

Two years ago, Rockford’s property tax rate was just over $12 per hundred dollars assessed valuation. Rockford area property owners will be shocked to know the estimated property tax rate for tax code 001 will be just shy of $14 dollars in 2014! Tax code 001 includes Rockford School District, City of Rockford, Winnebago County, Park District, Rock Valley College, Rockford Library, Rockford Township, airport and numerous smaller municipalities. In a previous blog post, it was explained that an unintended consequence of the Illinois Tax...

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Miracle Mile II TIF and effects on property taxes – Part 2

Since the city’s economic development tool – the Tax Increment Finance district – is for blighted areas, I drove west on State Street from Mulford to Alpine, pulling into parking lots, writing down the names of businesses in the proposed TIF area to observe, as reported in the Rockford Register Star article, if good things are really happening in this area without any new TIF funding. The TIF district actually begins just east of Mulford and includes Chase Bank and Rasmussen College, and the Shogun restraurant, across from...

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