An education representative in one of Illinois’ “collar counties” said opposition by township government leaders or any leaders to the state legislature’s proposed two-year property tax freeze was welcome because of the funding property taxes provide.
Melea Smith, executive director of communications and public relations for the Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205, said a large portion of the district's funding comes from property taxes.
"As a public school district located in one of the Illinois 'collar counties,' we are appreciative of any entity that opposes a property tax freeze,” Smith told the DuPage Policy Journal. “Some 83 percent of our funding comes from local residential property taxes, so it would be a hit to our budget if we could not realize additional funding from new construction and increased Equalized Assessed Value.”
Additionally, Smith said districts are already limited by the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, also known as the “tax cap” and that the Consumer Price Index has been historically low throughout the last five years.
Smith also added that the district had received late payments by the Illinois State Board of Education over the last several years and that the price in students’ needs is increasing.
“Meeting the growing needs of our students continues to cost more and more,” Smith said.
The two-year property tax freeze was proposed in Senate Bill 851, which was brought to the floor on Oct. 26.
Township officials have opposed the property tax freeze. In a memo sent to state township officials, Bryan E. Smith, executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, told leaders to contact their state representatives and senators and oppose the property tax freeze.
In the memo to township officials, Smith said the freeze did several things, including a two-year freeze for 2017 and 2018 in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. Smith said this would mean the extension limitation would be zero percent for these counties, unless voters were to approve an increase.
For all other counties, the measure would allow county boards to put a referendum on the ballot in 2018 allowing for a property tax freeze for all local governments within that county for 2018 and 2019, Smith said.
Smith also said all local governments in the county could be subject to a property tax freeze in 2018 and 2019, along with being subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for 2020 and beyond.