Who Voted to Raise Your County Taxes?

The McHenry County Board failed to break with the “increase the tax take as much as possible” crowd, but they came close.

Barb Wheeler made the motion to remove the CPI and Nick Provenzano seconded it.   Wheeler is a candidate for State Representative and Provenzano is running for re-election.  Both are from District 3, where a hot primary for County Board is shaping up.

There was an 11-11 vote on the motion to prevent county government from grabbing as many property tax dollars as the Real Estate Tax Cap law allows.

A tie vote loses.

I explained what was to be presented to the County Board in this article two weeks ago:

No Financial Diet for McHenry County Next Year + The Tax Levy Game

It was a levy intended to maximize the tax take for county government.

If the levy for year two exceeds the extension year one by the percentage amount allowed under PTELL (the initials of the Tax Cap law), then taxes will go up the maximum amount allowed.

The extension is the amount allowed to be collected, that is, the amount billed by the County Treasurer.

After an attempt by half of the Board to keep county taxes from increasing, a second vote passed the “take all you can get” levy by a vote of 15-7.

Kevin Craver’s article in the Northwest Herald tells details, but the most telling observation was made by Crystal Lake’s Donna Kurtz.  The story puts it this way:

“…the hole created by inflation would increase over time and hamper the county’s ability to handle unforeseen expenses and state funding shortfalls.”

That, of course, is the line and attitude of those who believe that government must take as much as it can out of our pockets.

Somehow, I don’t think the ordinary taxpayers with a couple of empty houses on their blocks would agree with that logic.

The new McHenry County Board district lines can be seen in this map.

There was a motion to eliminate the 1.5% tax hike, but it failed 11-11.

Listed in the order in which their names were called, those in favor of limiting county government’s budget growth follow:

  • Sue Draffcorn (D4)
  • Diane Evertsen (D6)
  • John Hammerand (D4)
  • Tina Hill (D5)
  • Anna May Miller (D1)
  • Robert Nowak (D1)
  • Nick Provenzano (D3)
  • Sandra Salgado (D4)
  • Ersel Schuster (D6)
  • Barb Wheeler (D3)
  • Paula Yensen (D5)

The map for 2012 County Board District 2, where all members voted to increase taxes. Scott Breeden is retiring and Crystal Lake City Councilwoman Carolyn Schoefield has announced her candidacy.

Those voting against cutting the budget were

  • Bob Bless (D1)
  • Scott Breeden (D2)
  • Mary Donner (D3)
  • Jim Heisler (D2)
  • John Jung (D5)
  • Donna Kurtz (D2)
  • Mary McCann (D6)
  • Peter Merkel (D4)
  • Marc Muneratto (D1)
  • Kathy Schmidt (D3)
  • Ken Koehler (D2)

Note that one Democrat (Yensen) voted against increasing taxes, while the other (Schmidt) stuck to the traditional position of her party and voted to maximize tax income.  That mitigates against a county wide campaign by Democrats next year in which they position themselves as being on the side of the taxpayers.

There was a second vote taken in which the levy was passed as presented.

Nevertheless, almost half of the County Board members opened themselves up to primary or general election challenges about their being on the taxpayers’ side.  (Two were absent.)

On a parochial note, no District 2 members voted against increasing taxes.  Perhaps not coincidentally, District 2 has only four candidates for four County Board openings.  Finance Committee Chairman Scott Breeden is retiring.

In the most rural district and the one with most candidates running, two incumbents voted with taxpayers–Evertsen and Schuster–while one (McCann) voted to hike taxes.

County Board Chairman Ken Koehler got his budget. The woman who ran against him for Chairman, Barb Wheeler, now a candidate for State Representative, led the fight to keep taxes from being hiked. She is seen here in a meeting that led to the defeat of video poker (slot machines) in unincorporated McHenry County. Koehler supported allowing the gaming devices.

In District 5, voting “No” besides the lone Democrat Yensen was Republican Hill.  The other incumbent, Jung, who was beaten by Yensen in 2008 voted to hike taxes.  Jung ran ahead of Hill in the last election, when Jung defeated Democrat Jim Kennedy, who is running again.

The following 15 members voted in favor:

  • Robert Bless
  • Scott Breeden
  • Sue Draftcorn (a switch)
  • Mary Donner
  • Jim Heisler
  • Tina Hill (a switch)
  • John Jung
  • Donna Kurtz
  • Mary McCann
  • Pete Merkel
  • Anna May Miller (a switch)
  • Marc Munaretto
  • Robert Novak (a switch)
  • Kathy Bergan Schmidt
  • Ken Koehler

In a related effort Tea Party East Dundee Village Trustee Allen Skillicorn could find only one person (Jeff Lynam) to vote with him on not increasing the village’s levy.


Who Voted to Raise Your County Taxes? — 12 Comments

  1. If you voted AYE when it’s time to vote we will vote NAY!!! These people don’t get it because they don’t live in the real world with read pay/benefits (or lack there of).

  2. Vote them OUT!

    In this day and age we cannot afford to keep stupid people in charge.

    What part of ‘everyone is cutting back’ do they not understand?

  3. What a cushy part time job.

    Board members average $225.00 each meeting, getting paid even if they don’t show up…

    Full time health benefits come along with that as well…

    And we the tax payers put up with this…

  4. At the local levels is where politicians develop who go on to state and federal offices. And it is at the local levels where they also begin to receive money from “interests” that will continue to fund their election campaigns troughout their careers.

    Given the mess that the country is in, closer attention should have been paid to who was getting the nod locally to campaign for higher office…for about the last 5 decades. Special interests now are in control and strangling us (and U.S.) because of the association of once-local candidates for office who rose with the help of the special interests that over time gained too much power as a result of their puppet pols that are now powerful beyond reason.

    It’s at the local level that these special interests must be squelched by far more careful judgment of local voters in the primaries.

    When I see that someone votes for gambling and other such special interests, and for raising taxes, that’s a red flag. Vote down local candidates who side with special interest legislation and higher taxes. If not, you’re shooting yourself in your own feet and that’s not smart. AND voting them down is the only way NOT to allow them to become more and more powerful, both candidates and special interests.

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