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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Increase in Rockford property tax rate, does not always increase tax levy

Two short years ago, the tax rate in Rockford broke the $12.00 barrier. When Rockford area property owners receive their tax bills early next week, they will be shocked to see the tax rate per hundred dollars of assessed valuation for tax code 001 is now $14.0023. Tax code 001 includes Rockford School District, the City of Rockford, Winnebago County, the Park District, and Rock Valley College, the Rockford Library, Rockford Township, the airport and numerous smaller municipalities. An unintended consequence of the PTELL tax cap law, allows...

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Senior Citizen Exemption increased – reduces this year’s property taxes!

Many elderly homeowners are not aware of the property tax exemptions and programs available to Illinois senior citizens. Various programs, including the Senior Citizen Exemption, reduce property taxes for qualified seniors with applications and guidelines available from the Winnebago County Supervisor of Assessments Office. The Senior Citizen property tax exemption has been raised from $4000 to $5000 reducing this year’s property tax bill for taxpayers over 65 years of age. With the Rockford area tax rate approaching $14.00 per hundred of...

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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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Inserting taxpayers back into Rockford TIF approval process

To reiterate my previous post, unelected officials, who represent each affected taxing district on a Joint Review Board, during the initial phases of the Rockford Tax Increment Finance approval process, typically do not inform their district’s elected officials of the scheduled state mandated JRB meetings and then fail to attend the meetings themselves. Taxpayers are thus provided little or no representation at the JRB meetings, despite the fact that TIF approval affects area property taxes for 23 years. The tax revenue diverted from the...

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