Our Risk-Aversive County Board

I guess I should not be surprised that McHenry County Board members don’t want to touch Pam Althoff’s, Karen McConnaughay’s and MikeTryon’s tax hike bill.

After all, as a class, politicians don’t like to put themselves at risk.

Senate Bill 3341, the legislation that would allow the McHenry County Conservation District to borrow money without going to the voters has supporters and opponents.

To get involved, even though Althoff requested such involvement last spring, would disturb either

  1. those who want to buy or develop more open space or
  2. those who think our property taxes are too high

Count me among the latter.

And, since we are the 29th highest real estate-taxed county in the United States of American, I think I might have some company.

The County’s Legislative Committee had a chance to consider the issue in December.

The address side of the post card.

The address side of the post card.

But John Jung cancelled the meeting.

The Legislative Committee is under new leadership now.

Nick Provenzano is Chairman.

The original Thursday meeting was cancelled.

But it was then re-scheduled for Friday morning at 8:15.

The message side of the post card.

The message side of the post card.  Click to enlarge.

When I noticed, no agenda had been posted.

Now you can take a look at it here.

You will notice that Senate Bill 3341 is on the agenda, but there is no resolution or support or opposition.  Here is what is written:

Discussion on SB 3341

That means the Committee cannot recommend that the full Board ask the Govenror to sign or veto the bill.

They can just talk.

Why the wishy-washiness (“lacking in decisiveness”)?

The argument has been advanced that if Governor Pat Quinn does not act on Senate Bill 3341 that it will automatically become law, that a new governor could not sign or veto the bill.

Learning that no attorney had affixed his or her name to that opinion, I sought advice from the Governor’s Office.

The first reply from Public Information Officer Dave Blanchette merely recited what’s in the State Constitution:

I’m with Governor Quinn’s press office.  Once a bill reaches the Governor’s desk, there is a time frame of 60 calendar days in which the Governor has to act on the bill, whether that is the outgoing or incoming Governor.  If no action is taken after 60 days, it automatically becomes law.
I replied:
I realize that is what the constitution says.
My question is whether the new governor has the power to veto or sign a bill ir Gov Quinn takes no action.

That’s when I got this answer:

Yes, the new Governor may act if Quinn takes no action, as long as it is within that 60 day window.

If the County Board wanted to weigh in on this tax hike bill, a petition could be circulated to call a Special Meeting, as was done to reverse the Obamacare Navigator vote.

But, such a special meeting might force County Board members to express whether they favored or opposed giving additional taxing powers to the McHenry County Conservation District.

That would be taking a risk.

Why would those who want the bill to be signed risk being labeled a “tax hiker” in the 2016 or 2018 primary elections?

My guess is that there are not enough tax fighters on the County Board to even call a Special Meeting, despite the fact that a majority of the old Finance Committee took a stand against SB 3341.


Our Risk-Aversive County Board — 6 Comments

  1. Senator Pamela Althoff, 32nd District

    “By not considering the counsel’s opinion to make the change, as specified in Senate Bill 3341, the McHenry County Conservation District would be penalized for asking for voter approval to issue bonds.”


    How would the Conservation District be penalized?

  2. One can want to buy or develop more open space AND also believe that our property taxes are too high.

    I think thousands of McHenry County residents agree with both statements.

  3. The Althoff press release is also published on the Senate Republican website.


    Compare the above Pamela Althoff press releases to the below LegiScan summary of the SB 3341 (98th General Assembly).


    Amends the Conservation District Act.

    Provides that a district may incur indebtedness for the purposes of paying any capital expenditure without first obtaining consent of the legal voters of the district.

    Sets forth a list of the types of bonds that do not limit a district from issuing non-referendum debt.

    Makes other changes.”



    That is quite different from the Althoff press release.

    Is Althoff spinning the story, hiding key information from the voters?

    Let’s dig further.

    Here is SB 3341.

    That is the most recent iteration of SB 3341, which is Senate Amendment 1.


    Next, here is The Conservation District Act, which SB 3341 changes.


    Search on “non-referendum” in both links.

    “Non-referendum” does appear in the Althoff bill.

    “Non-referendum” does not appear in the current law called The Conservation District Act.

    How many times does “non-referendum” appear in the Althoff bill?


    What does it say?

    “The following do not in any way limit the right of a district to issue non-referendum bonds under this Section: bonds heretofore or hereafter issued and outstanding that are approved by referendum, as described in this subsection (d); refunding bonds issued to refund or continue to refund bonds approved by referendum; and bonds issued under this Section that have been paid in full or for which provisions for payment have been made by an irrevocable deposit of funds in an amount sufficient to pay the principal and interest on those bonds to their respective maturity date.”

  4. Taxes are way too high in McHenry County!


    It’s becoming much too UNaffordable to live here.

    Our taxes should be lowered.


    You want land?

    Buy it yourself!

    Raise money.

    Don’t make me pay for it.

  5. Andrew Gasser is pointing out problems.

    This is a pretty cool youtube video along with his rationale presented to the board on the 6th.

    It will be interesting to see how the establishment types of Althoff and Tryon respond.

    You know MCCD cannot be happy with their cover blown.

    Using the per capita comparison is very telling and gives you the best picture of what is going on.

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