Schaumburg Township supervisor cautions against across-the-board tax cuts as push for state tax freeze fades
Eroding support for a statewide property tax freeze backed by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner – even from some in his own party – kept senators from even considering the bill during the fall veto session, according to an article on MyJournalCourier.com.
Proposed by Illinois Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg), SB851 was the Senate counterpart to HB696, which easily passed in April, according to IllinoisPolicy.org. The bill would establish a two-year property tax freeze for Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties. The measure would allow those counties to increase property taxes only 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.
Bryan Smith, the executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, had sent a legislative alert to township officials about SB851, asking them to urge their state lawmakers to oppose the measure.
The legislation was not brought up for a vote in the Senate before the veto session ended.
A CBS report said some Republicans characterized the bill as “pandering” in the wake of a 32 percent hike in state income tax earlier this year.
In an interview with West Cook News, Schaumburg Township Supervisor Mary Wroblewski acknowledged the need for lower taxes, but cautioned against across-the-board tax cuts.
“All property owners want property taxes lower,” Wroblewski said. But “property taxes pay for schools, park districts, libraries and townships. These same property owners also want all these groups to be strong, so there needs to be a balance.”
Wroblewski noted that local government budgets only account for 1 percent of the total state budget, and suggested other priorities were more pressing.
“I think the state needs to be working on solving the pension crisis and the billions of dollars debt it has,” she said. “If the tax freeze happens, there will just be less money to use to help people.”