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Dupage Policy Journal

Sunday, January 26, 2020

'Broken' property tax system not a 'crisis issue' for Democrats, candidate Breen says


By Glenn Minnis | Jan 9, 2020

Property tax 8

Illinois state House candidate Peter Breen (R-Lombard) argues that the property tax relief task force created last summer by Gov. J.R. Pritzker never really had a chance.

“We have a property tax crisis in Illinois and the property tax task force was supposed to recognize and quantify that and come up with solid solutions to begin the process of solving the issue,” Breen told the DuPage Policy Journal. “The task force hasn’t so much as issued a report, and that makes it clear that Democrats never have seen property taxes as being a crisis issue. The fact that the task force couldn’t even issue a report shows how broken Illinois government truly is.”

Republican lawmakers who serve on the 88-member committee have refused to sign off on a draft report on the grounds they feel it fails to seriously consider any of their recommendations or propose any major changes for a system that rates Illinois as having the second highest property taxes in the U.S. Breen, who formerly served as state representative for the 48th District and is now poised for a rematch with incumbent state Rep. Terra Costa-Howard (D-Glen Ellyn) in 2020, empathizes with his former colleagues' situation.

Illinois state House candidate Peter Breen (R-Lombard)

“I’m not sure if most of the problems with the task force come from the fact that House Democrats running it are incompetent at their jobs or the fact that [House Speaker] Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) couldn’t figure out what to actually allow them to do,” Breen said. “This would be funny if we weren’t in the middle of a crisis situation.”

Mark Glennon, the founder of government watchdog Wirepoints, provided his own assessment of the report's draft.

“It's a hodgepodge of maybe-this-maybe-that non-conclusions and half-baked evasions from different subcommittees," Glennon wrote. "It omits any quantification of the ideas it presents and offers no concrete recommendations whatsoever that can reasonably be expected to lower taxes meaningfully.”

Breen argues that Illinois residents should not expect any relief to the escalating property tax situation any time soon, and the committee's ineffective draft report is just a small part of the reason.

“Top Democrats like Mike Madigan and [newly retired Senate President] John Cullerton (D-Chicago) make their living off the fact that the property tax system is broken,” Breen said. “This task force appears to be just a fig leaf for Democrats to pretend like they care about the crisis that’s destroying our state government. We have one-party rule in Illinois and Democrats can’t do the job of running the government.”

Breen plans to take a stand for the property tax issue and other priorities if sent back to Springfield in November.

“Property taxes and every tax in this state needs to be capped and we need to be reducing,” Breen said. “Not only don’t we need a graduated tax, we need a hard tax cap. We have to be doing everything that’s humanly possible to help people stay in Illinois and draw more people in. Right now, Illinoisans don’t trust their government and neither do people across the country that won’t move their businesses or homes here.”

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