Macomb alderman calls property tax freeze a mistake
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 a proposed bill during the fall veto session, according to an article on MyJournalCourier.com.
The proposed bill, Senate Bill 851, 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.
For other counties, the particulars of implementation would have been left in the hands of local government boards and their constituents, according to a memorandum from Executive Director Bryan Smith of the Township Officials of Illinois lobbying group.
A Chicago CBS affiliate’s website said some Republicans characterized the proposed bill as “pandering” in the wake of a 32 percent hike in state income tax earlier this year
In Smith’s memo, he urged township officials to tell their elected legislators to oppose the tax freeze.
Macomb Alderman Thomas Koch agrees that freezing taxes would be a mistake.
“We already have PTELL, which limits raises to cost-of-living increases,” Koch said. “Any further would restrict the ability of the township to help the needy.”
PTELL, or the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, is a decades-old law limiting the increases to property taxes for “non-home rule taxing districts,” according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.
“The limit slows the growth of revenues to taxing districts when property taxes and assessments are increasing faster than inflation,” the document at Tax.Illinois.Gov explains.
Koch said one way to trim costs without compromising services would be to eliminate the township model of government, itself a difficult undertaking.
“The township in Macomb is wholly in the city and could, by law, be absorbed into the city,” he said. “It would not reduce the need of the work done by the township, but it may save money by reducing duplication of legal costs, plus possibly other functions.”