That comment by State Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) pretty much summed up the District 300 Legislative Committee meeting at Jacobs High School Tuesday night.
Tryon succinctly summarized the state’s financial situation at the end of the meeting in answer to a compound question, part of which was whethe3r the two local legislators present–Tryon and State Senator Karen McConnaughay–favored prorating State Aid to Education payments.
Traveling from her North Shore district to discuss pension reform, Democrat State Rep. Elaine Nekritz explained that State Aid to Education has been prorated at 85% of what the formula dictated.
Tryon pointed out that with a 1.2% increase in the state economy, State Aid payments could not keep up with teacher salary increases of 2-2.5%.
“It won’t work,” he said.
Several times the trade-off on pension responsibility from state taxpayers to local property taxpayers was advanced by low taxed Chicago politicians was discussed.
To put the disparity of real estate tax burdens in perspective, Tryon told of House Speaker Mike Madigan’s tax bill of $4,900 on his $341,000 home in Chicago.
A tax bill in Crystal Lake on a $341,000 home would be $12,000, Tryon pointed out.
“We can’t afford anymore money on our property tax.”
Tryon did say he was amenable to talking about a trade-off, if the money saved was put into the State Aid Formula for the districts where the shift occurred, if I understood what he said.
Before he left for another engagement, commenting on the state’s fiscal condition, State Rep. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin) said, “I really don’t believe we can totally cut our way out of this.”
Freshman State Senator McConnaughay added, “There are more needs than there are available dollars.”
She added, “If the state can’t pay its bills, there’s no way to avoid…difficult choices without shared pain on the part of all.”