Mayoral surrogates warn state against property tax freeze
A consortium of Illinois mayors has gone public – to a degree – with its fight against a possible statewide property tax freeze, telling residents that as great as a freeze might sound, it could destroy their communities.
The Chicago City Wire and its affiliate publications reached out to six regional councils of government that apparently represent the interests of 150 mayors in the state: the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, the South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association, the Northwest Municipal Conference, the Will County Governmental League, Metro West Council of Government and the Southwest Conference of Mayors.
None of them had returned calls for comment by press time.
Instead, the executive directors that represent the organizations penned an opinion piece for Crain’s Chicago Business to argue against a property tax freeze.
“In fact, such a measure could actually cost Illinois taxpayers more, not less, and could reduce services available to residents,” they wrote. “For example, municipal construction projects are very often paid for with a bond, which serves the same purpose that a mortgage serves for homeowners. However, issuing a bond becomes more costly as reliable revenue sources for repayment, such as property taxes, are restricted, increasing interest rates and making public projects more expensive for taxpayers.”
The article was written by Mark Baloga of DuPage Mayors, Kristi DeLaurentiis of South Suburban Mayors, Mark Fowler of the Northwest Municipal Conference, Hugh O’Hara of the Will County Government League, Mary Randle of the Metro West Council, and Vicky Smith of the Southwest Conference of Mayors.
“… many municipalities have been challenged to meet expenses since the 2008 recession, and adding a property tax freeze would reduce a municipality's revenue even further,” they argued. “In essence, it would hamper its ability to access needed funds and jeopardize vital public services such as police and fire protection, garbage pickup, road maintenance and snow removal.”
Since this legislative session began, Gov. Bruce Rauner has been pushing for a property tax freeze to help beleaguered homeowners.
Illinois taxpayers are saddled with some of the highest tax bills in the United States, the Illinois Policy Institute has reported. In fact, residents of some of the communities represented by the councils are paying some of the highest property tax rates in the state.
Municipalities belonging to regional councils that authored editorial
|South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association||Alsip|
|Country Club Hills|
|East Hazel Crest|
|South Chicago Heights|
|South Holland Address|
|DuPage Mayor and Managers Conference||Addison|
|Northwest Municipal Conference||Antoch|
|Elk Grove Village|
|Will County Governmental League||Beecher|
|Government of Will County|
|Government of Grundy County|
|Metro West Council of Government||Algonquin|
|Southwest Conference of Mayors||Alsip|