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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Two state reps attempt to limit backdoor referendums that use Tax Caps

The tax caps people desired, and what the Illinois 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...

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Illinois Public Pensions, Municipal Bankruptcy and Illinois taxes

The unfunded liabilities facing government pension plans have gained increased public scrutiny during the past year. Governing entities and taxpayers are beginning to recognize the potential consequences of public pension liabilities. Headlines have exposed municipal bankruptcies, such as Detroit and numerous cities in California. In some extreme cases, pension liabilities have been one of the key drivers for municipal bankruptcy filings and reduced pensions could wind up as the solution for the budget shortfall. Current data indicates that...

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Illinois, Chicago, Springfield and state Medicaid all corrupt

Illinois is notorious for government corruption. Since 1976, the state has the third highest corruption convictions in the nation, including four out of the last 7 governors. Chicago has been called “the most corrupt city in America.” A report by the University of Illinois-Chicago and the Better Government Association revealed that 150 top Cook County officials have been convicted in public corruption cases. So it should come as no surprise that a program such as the state Medicaid program, which is to provide the base of expansion for...

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Legal and financial consequences of home rule in Rockford

Home rule, created by the Illinois Constitution in 1970, allows municipalities to raise taxes, pass ordinances to address local problems, and do just about anything not prohibited by state law. Non-home-rule communities can do only what the state law stipulates. Proponents of home rule always opine that the issue appears to boil down to a lack of trust in our elected officials not to excessively raise taxes without voter approval. In 1983, after two consecutive years of excessive tax increases, home rule opponents obtained 10,800 signatures...

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