Rep. Batinick offers path forward on freezing property tax
Illinois should do what is in the best interest of the people of the state regarding the proposed two-year property tax freeze for townships and local governments across the state, according to Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield).
Batinick, who has served in the legislature since 2015, said the plight of taxpayers should be the chief concern in addressing the issue.
“We should simply do what is best for all taxpayers,” Batinick said.
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.
But Batinick said the best way to help freeze or lower these taxes would be to lower government spending elsewhere on other public services.
“The best way to freeze and/or lower property taxes would be to couple any action from Springfield with ways to lower the cost of government entities providing services,” Batinick said. “Lower workers compensation costs, less unfunded mandates, et cetera, would help balance any action.”
Illinois has about 7,000 units of local government, far more than any other state. When asked if township governments are necessary, Batinick said he supported letting locals decide that question at the ballot box.
“In some areas they are efficient,” Batinick said. "In other areas they are duplicative. I support letting the local taxpayers decide via referendum.”
The property tax issue is important for voters and state residents because of how high property taxes affect both businesses and residents, Batinick said.
“High property taxes are one of the biggest items chasing jobs out of the state," Batinick said. “They are also chasing people out of their homes.”
The two-year property tax freeze was proposed in Senate Bill 851, which was brought to the floor last month.
In the memo of opposition to township officials, Smith said SB 851 would do several things, including the placement of a freeze for 2017 and 2018 in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
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 those counties for 2018 and 2019, Smith said.