DuPage County Board member 'understands' townships' concerns about tax freeze proposal
DuPage County Board member Robert Larson said a proposal to freeze property taxes in counties surrounding Chicago should include some flexibility.
“I understand the rationale behind a property tax freeze given the heavy burden property owners currently face in Illinois.” Larson told the DuPage Policy Journal. “I support efforts to reduce property taxes. On the other hand, townships depend entirely upon these taxes for their revenue. I can see where they’d be concerned with a freeze that does not allow for any increase in funding to fund increased supply costs, salaries and insurance, etc."
During the first week of fall veto season, lawmakers considered a proposal that, if passed, would impose a two-year property tax freeze for local governments in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties.
Passage of the bill would mandate that those counties would only be allowed to increase property taxes with voter approval. All other counties would be subject to referendums asking whether a property tax freeze should be imposed for 2018 and 2019 or that all governments within a county jurisdiction be subject to a property tax freeze over that period and to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for levy year 2020 and the foreseeable future.
“Voters should take note because this issue impacts them every day.” Larson said. “Most of us are impacted in some way or another by property taxes, and by the services provided by township government. Voters should educate themselves on what townships do, what they don’t do, and what it costs, and then make up their minds about whether the services merit the cost, consider what alternative may be available.”
The proposal drew the attention of the Township Officials of Illinois, and the group's executive director issued a legislative alert to township officials asking them to urge their state lawmakers to oppose the measure.
The legislation, SB851, was not brought up for a vote in the Senate before the veto session ended.
Larson encouraged legislators to examine the issue closely and ignore "political allegiances."
“If a lawmaker believes we need a property tax freeze, they should consider the rationale behind the opposition by the townships, along with all other available information," he said. "They should not worry about whether township folks who oppose a freeze happen to control local political organizations. In other words, they should vote their principles based upon the facts, not based upon political expediency.”