Strick says Illinois taxpayers are tapped out
The Illinois General Assembly quietly passed an amendment to the state's tax increment financing (TIF) laws on June 30 to allow Chicago to create four transit-based TIF districts, or super TIFS, which would redirect funds from the cash-strapped city and allow money from one neighborhood to be diverted to other parts of the city.
Michael Strick, the Naperville Republican running for state representative in House District 84, doesn’t understand why the Chicago City Council would allow such a thing.
“I don’t agree with the TIFs district,” Strick said. “It’s been called a slush fund for (Chicago) Mayor Rahm Emanuel, using the TIF money wherever he feels appropriate. It makes no sense to me that the Chicago City Council still promotes TIF districts even though it’s financially strapped.”
Strick has been critical of the Windy City, citing the inefficiencies of Emanuel and his policies as a reason for the city's problems. According to Strick, one such example of the ineptness that allegedly plagues the city is the mayor’s proposal of using tollway money to rebate property owners for the higher property taxes they are expected to pay. It defeats the purpose of increasing taxes to pay for what Strick calls a rusty old furnace.
Strick wishes that Chicago would pay its fair share instead of relying on other cities and towns.
“When our homes and businesses are assessed at 33 1/3 percent out here in the suburbs and they are assessed at 10 percent of their market value, it doesn’t seem fair to me that the suburban districts need to pay for Chicago’s funding,” Strick said. “It makes no sense to me.”
The current backlog of bills is another thing that strikes Strick as senseless. There are estimates that the backlog will reach close to $10 billion by the end of this year. Taxpayers are stretched thin, according to Strick.
“I think the Illinois taxpayers are tapped out,” Strick said. “They keep trying to dig deeper and deeper into the older coins that are left in our pockets. People are going to get totally fed up with it. It’s to the point of ridiculousness. We’re tapped out.”
Strick reiterates that the state doesn’t have the financial resources to match its spending. He compares the state to a typical company.
“Illinois … we’re broke,” Strick said. “Any other company like Illinois would be out of business. But you can’t make a state go bankrupt.”
Strick advises that the state needs to make some difficult decisions to ensure its future. Among those are cuts to extraneous government services and programs.
“We need to see some substantial cuts,” Strick said. “Nobody wants to make cuts because they all want to protect their own skin in the political machine. And nobody is willing to make the hard choices.”
The political machine to which Strick is referring is House Speaker Michael Madigan and the Democratic-controlled legislature. Strick hopes that voters take a step back and look at all the damage that Madigan has allegedly caused in his 41 years in office.
“I just really believe that the citizens of Illinois need to wake up and realize that Mike Madigan is not out to help the ordinary citizen,” Strick said. “He’s out to help maintain his power through the unions and people that want to keep him in power. They want the status quo. He wants everything to be the same from now until the day he dies, I believe. He wants to pass that power on to the next people. We just need to wake up and realize that he is not in it to help the common folk. He is in it to help himself and his cronies stay in power.”
The message about ousting the old tired career politicians has been part of Strick’s campaign.
“I’ve come out with a new flier (which details his campaign points)," Strick said. "I want to mandate a property tax freeze. I want to enforce that local school taxes will support local schools -- meaning that we don’t want our suburban money to go to Chicago to pay for their problems. I want to establish term limits with no more career politicians. I want to help fix the pension crisis. And I want to create a more business-friendly environment and bring jobs back to Illinois.”
Strick is hopeful, concluding that his points are resonating with the constituents of the 84th District.
“The message is good,” Strick said. “It’s on point. I believe that when I talk to people and tell them that Mike Madigan has been in office for 41 years, people say ‘yep, it’s definitely time for a change.' With him and his group trying to fight the fair map amendment, I think that resonates even more with the people (who are) fed up with the Democratic control.”
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