This came from Tim Dwyer, the tax protest attorney who won his suit against the Harrison Grade School District in Wonder Lake:
With regard to attacking the property tax problem, your readers should be urged to look at H.B. 5529.
This bill allows school districts to transfer money via intrafund transfers between the Educational Fund, the Operations and Maintenance Fund and the Transportation Fund.
It can be found at Section 5/17-2A of the School Code.
Originally adopted in the 1960’s, the Intrafund Transfer Section originally provided for a one-time intrafund transfer for unforeseen, non-recurring expenses.
In 2001, it was amended to allow any transfer for any reason until 2003.
Since that time (2003), it has been extended five times.
H.B. 5529 seeks another three-year extension and passed through Committee unanimously (22-0, with 7 members absent).
I spoke with the legislative representative of this bill, and she had no idea what it was about.
The response I received was that Committee members relied upon the two representatives in charge of Education (Rep. Crespo and Rep. Pritchard).
I spoke with Rep. Pritchard, and he told me that the bill was sponsored by School Districts
“so that they can pay their bills.”
In fact, what this bill allows, and has allowed for 16 years, is to circumvent the taxing requirements of the School Code and PTELL.
One perfect example in McHenry County is Harrison School District 36 in Wonder Lake.
School District 36 had amassed 3.6 million dollars in its Transportation Fund when its actual Transportation costs were $337,000 annually.
The taxpayers sued (in large part as a result of the actions of D36 resident Clifford Leegard) and prevailed.
The District agreed to rebate $123,121 to those taxpayers who objected to the 2014 levy of 1.8 million dollars for a $337,000 budget item.
The amount rebated represented the entire transportation levy for those residents who signed up for the tax objection lawsuit.
Under normal circumstances, District 36 would have so much left in its Transportation budget that it could not, legally, adopt a levy for its Transportation Fund until such time as that fund was reduced.
This, of course, would have saved all taxpayers in District 36’s tax code 20% of future tax bills.
But under Section 5/17-2A, District 36 transferred its excess transportation funds, an amount in excess of three million dollars, to its Education and Operations and Maintenance Funds.
In its 2015 levy, District 36 levied for Transportation funds.
In reality, over three million dollars of illegally levied funds are now legal-due solely to Section 5/17-2A. H.B. 5529 is up right now, and presently has no opposition.
Local schools are responsible for 59%-68% of our property tax bills.
I would urge all of your blog readers to call or write their state representatives and senators and demand that H.B. 5529 be rejected.
Timothy P. Dwyer