Failure in Springfield, failing to provide services at the township level, failing municipalities, and they all have the same particular names and supporters whose names come up repeatedly.Our View: Why your tax bill keeps rising
Cook County homeowners got their property tax bills last week, and most were annoyed, if not angered, to learn what most of their Will County counterparts did two months ago — despite lower home values that still have a long way to recover from the impact of the Great Recession, the tax bill was higher.
The property tax system is needlessly complex and confusing, especially in Cook County, and the tax is excessive largely due to the state of Illinois ranking near the bottom among the states in its share of funding public education. About two-thirds of your tax bill goes to local schools, which are heavily dependent on the property tax because the state has failed to meet its constitutional mandate that it has the “primary responsibility for financing” the public schools.
The tax also is regressive because it’s not based on ability to pay, hitting homeowners in property-poor communities harder than those in a town with a strong tax base. A homeowner in Park Forest, for example, has a higher bill than the owner of a comparable home in Joliet because of Joliet’s lower tax rate from its large commercial and industrial tax base.
Another major reason that your tax bill has been creeping higher in recent years is local government, both its spending and its numbers.
Each taxing district (your town, school districts, park district, township, etc.) annually sets a tax levy, or the amount it seeks from the property tax for its budget. The tax rate equation is based on that amount and the district’s total property value. Usually, the higher the levy, the higher the rate and the higher your bill.
Adding to that, there are simply too many units of local government — about 1,500 in Cook County and about 7,000 statewide, far more than any other state, including about 900 school districts, a third of which have only one school.
This page has banged the drum loudly for consolidating local government and eliminating unneeded taxing bodies, such as townships. Public officials resist because that would mean fewer jobs, including some of their jobs.
Maybe you haven’t cared much about local government spending or consolidation. After looking at your tax bill, maybe you should.
#24 Jul 7, 2013
#25 Jul 9, 2013
Now to what the legislature didn't do on Tuesday. It did not fix the pension crisis that is crippling the economic well-being of this state. Lawmakers zoomed home after dealing with guns.
In other words, they failed you. Again.
#26 Jul 9, 2013
Consolidating local government and eliminating unneeded taxing bodies, such as townships is an intelligent idea. Public officials resist because that would mean fewer jobs for friends, family, and themselves.
#27 Jul 10, 2013
Taxpayers pay for all of the positions, appointments, salaries, pensions, mistakes, trials, public defenders, and jail time over and over again at their local schools, parks, municipal, township, state, and federal levels.
#28 Jul 10, 2013
For all of the political get rich schemes too..
#29 Jul 10, 2013
There are state and county laws regarding "Conflict of Interest".
#30 Jul 10, 2013
They also include loop holes for them to get around it though. It's all part of the political process of lawmaking.
#31 Jul 10, 2013
How can we quantify the social cost of his failed shenanigans?
#32 Jul 11, 2013
By Thomas Frisbie
New effort to keep pols out of redrawing legislative districts
Ryan Blitstein is senior adviser to Yes for Independent Maps.
Remember the Fair Map amendment? Back in 2010, supporters were gathering signatures, hoping to take the power to redraw Illinois’ legislative districts away from politicians and give it to an independent bipartisan commission.
The politicians won that round, and drew the maps we have today. Now, reform forces are pushing a new constitutional amendment for the 2014 ballot that would create an 11-member independent redistricting commission. They need more than 298,000 signatures by May 14, 2014, to get on the ballot the following November. That’s a lot, but it’s also doable.
Around the country, politicians have used new technologies to take gerrymandering to a new level. The party that controls the redistricting can do a much better job than in the past of inflating its own power and marginalizing the competition.
Yes for Independent Maps, a new coalition of statewide groups, says the result in Illinois is that 97 percent of legislative incumbents won in the general election, and in two-thirds of the races, there was no challenger.
Ryan Blitstein, senior adviser to the campaign for the constitutional amendment, said the new effort is building on the work of the Fair Map proponents.
“In 2010, they were really just getting ball rolling,” Blitstein said.“One of the reasons that you see such strong citizen interest in this issue is that coalition spent a lot of time and a lot of energy and a lot of money and a lot of people resources to go out and tell folks in the state about this.”
Voter interest also has been built up by the recent “behind closed doors” redistricting process, which took place after the Fair Map effort, he said.
“If you talk to voters, as we have, and you look at the polls, you will see that there is just extraordinary frustration on the part of the citizens,” Blitstein said.”… The people are really interested in being put back in charge.”
Now, many voters don’t have the power to hold their legislative representatives accountable, he said. Instead, those lawmakers are responsible to legislative leaders who control redistricting and dole out campaign money.
Because of redistricting abuses, most voters don’t have the power to hold their legislative representatives accountable, he said. Instead, those lawmakers are more responsible to legislative leaders who control redistricting and dole out campaign funds.
Groups that are part of the Yes coalition include Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago; Business and Professional People for the Public interest; CHANGE Illinois; Chicago Appleseed; Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights; Citizen Advocacy Center; Common Cause; Illinois Public Interest Research Group; Latino Policy Forum; Metropolis Strategies; Openlands, and Reboot Illinois.
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