Steve Reick Reports

From State Rep. Steve Reick:

Putting the Brakes on Unfunded Mandates

The biggest issue in the past election was the out-of-control property taxes that are driving businesses and residents out of McHenry County and out of Illinois. I ran on a promise that I’d do my best to bring down that property tax burden by focusing on changing the way the state pays for education.

While the Governor’s bipartisan task force moves to turn its framework report issued last week into legislation, I’ve looked at other ways in which we can begin to bend the cost curve of education downward.

Unfunded mandates are one of the biggest drivers of increased property taxes in McHenry County. The practice of imposing regulations and programs upon our school systems without providing the funding to pay for it, thus putting the burden upon local property owners has gone on long enough.

One of the first bills I sponsored in Springfield is H.B. 378. It’s a bill that was proposed in the last session of the General Assembly but failed to make it out of the Rules Committee, where good legislation often goes to die. I picked it up and resubmitted it for consideration in this session.

In its simplest terms, it’s a bill that provides that if a rule is proposed under the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act, then any interested party may request a ruling as to whether the rule is a “State Mandate”. If the rule is found to be a State Mandate, then all of the time periods for objecting shall be tolled, and no “Certificate of No Objection” may be issued (clearing the way for implementation) until the rule has been approved by a joint resolution of the General Assembly.

My bill does not stop the Illinois State Board of Elections from proposing and implementing new rules and policies, but it will give taxpayers the opportunity to fully assess their cost and push back against their implementation.

Furthermore, the requirement of a joint resolution places political accountability upon the General Assembly to raise taxes through an unfunded mandate instead of passing it off to unelected members of a state commission or agency. We’ve seen too many instances of Federal agencies such as the EPA imposing costly restrictions upon businesses and individuals, while Congress hides behind a wall of unaccountability. This bill short-circuits that process for state mandates on schools.

What I hope to accomplish with this H.B. 378 is to reduce the burden of unfunded mandates by placing the political cost upon those who have to stand in front of the voters every 2 or 4 years. I’m not optimistic for its passage; after all, it puts politicians into a position of having to take ownership of something that may cost them votes, not to mention the fact that the Speaker controls what bills ultimately make it to a vote on the House floor. But those aren’t good enough reasons to not give it a try.


Steve Reick Reports — 24 Comments

  1. Another silly, hollow “look at me, I’m doing stuff” bill.

    How about Reicke work on legislation that will actually lower our taxes, like stopping corporate welfare.

    Or won’t Rauner OK that legislation since he’s all about giving our money away to his friends?

  2. I love our progressive friends.

    Your one statement tells all… “How about Reicke work on legislation that will actually lower our taxes, like stopping corporate welfare.”

    First you could check your spelling… second… ya, nail those job creators.

    Forget the “welfare” load taxpayers are carrying as a result of all the goodie-two-shoes out there.

    We cannot have people on welfare because of hang-nails. This needs to be addressed.

    It hurts people who are in real need… and it is happening.

    And, before you say that I do not know what I am talking about…

    I had 16 years of dealing with people who attempted to “game-the-system.” Not pretty!

  3. Mrs. Schuster, we’ve been throwing money at “job creators” for decades so where are the jobs?

    As for your 16 years – you did a bang-up job.

    Can’t keep pointing your finger at the state Mrs. Schuster, just doesn’t fly anymore.

    And you can’t keep pandering to so-called “job creators” who do not create jobs but are more than happy to extort us out of our tax dollars.

    The “job creators” pay little or no taxes and demand to be paid just to pretend they will keep or create jobs.

    THIS is a big reason that our property taxes are so high, yet you try to blame it on others.

    You are, or I should say were, part of the problem.

    BTW, this is not a “progressive” issue, you’re pandering to big business effects everyone.

  4. Audrey:

    Almost 80% of your property taxes go to the schools, not “corporate welfare”.

    You should check your facts and your spelling.

  5. Actually Paul, most local municipalities deal in TIFs (tax increment financing) which are tax giveaways to local companies and corporations across the state.

    TIF money is literally property tax dollars meant to go to taxing bodies (like police, counties and schools), that are given to Mrs. Schuster’s so-called “job creators”, without our permission and often without our knowledge.

    This adds up to literally hundreds of millions of dollars.

    TIFs in this area cost us, in some cases, millions of dollars per year.

    So, you are wrong, our property taxes are directly impacted by corporate welfare.

    Cal himself has argued against TIFs right here on this blog and so has Paul Serwatka.

    I suggest that before you act like a horse’s ass and attack someone that you know nothing about, you do the same.

  6. Cal, shame on you!

    You know that if a corporation or a business pays property taxes but then those taxes are funneled back to them as “incentives” from the state or a municipality, they are most certainly avoiding those taxes.

  7. I would suggest you ask some local businessmen if the state provides reimbursement.

  8. Corporate welfare (or is it cronyism?) is alive and well in Crystal Lake. Since the TIF expired in downtown Crystal Lake 10 years ago, the Mayor and City Council members have continued to buy, build, and rebuild expensive parking lots for only “certain” and “favored” businesses in Crystal Lake – the downtown merchants and building owners, at their request! All of these CAM-type subsidies are at no expense to the downtown business and building owners. (New parking lot across from Georgios, new parking lot purchased from Home State Bank and rebuilt parking lot for Brink Street Market, complete with a requested/expanded outdoor seating area for Starbucks.) I can assure you that if a Route 14 small business owner asked for these subsidies, they would be laughed at by our city leaders. For some reason downtown merchants “deserve” special treatment – right Ellen Brady Mueller? Because as in your ridiculous words, “They are the only ones that “do” anything for Crystal Lake, right? The City also provides a lot of other expensive perks and grants for downtown merchants with the excuse that supporting this area promotes economic development. Guess what? Retail revenue in Crystal Lake has remained flat, even with the city dumping a fortune into their little pet project. The city council is full of sentimental townies who have no business experience (except for Haig) and don’t consider whether their investment in downtown has provided a positive ROI. Downtown looks very nice, but unfortunately, it is now filled with a plethora of non-retail tax generating businesses that contribute nothing to Crystal Lake’s general fund yet, these businesses are happy to take advantage of the free ride the city so-unfairly (and unethically) provides. The other point of interest? Some fully improved downtown commercial properties are assessed at less that 1/2 of similar properties in Algonquin township. Audrey is right. Corporate welfare starves other areas that should be funded. Our roads are filled with potholes, we have a big pension liability in Crystal Lake, and we have a library that needs 9 million in repairs. Our own City government completely ignores the contribution of many long-time small businesses located outside of the downtown area, yet they are happy to take our retail tax dollar contributions and spend them on subsidizing our competitors and all the weak, unsuccessful, revolving-door merchants that come and go downtown. Our city leaders are creating a resentful, split business community in little (and diminishing) Crystal Lake. Downtown businesses should recognize that their willingness to turn the other cheek, and accept corporate welfare is not healthy for the city business environment. It’s also taking money away from other parts of Crystal Lake that should be funded. It’s time for downtown to figure out how to pay their own way like the rest of the city’s businesses are expected to do.

  9. Interesting comments… pretty well stated for the most part.

    Audrey does have a point.

    I have long worked to call attention to the horrible mess created by all the give-aways to the likes of Motorola in Harvard. Somewhat similar to the “improvements” Reasonable has outlined.

    What is impossible to understand is the utter hatred espoused by Audrey in suggesting it is business world causing the problem.

    Look again. It is our precious elected officials who sell their souls to keep their positions.

    Audrey, you and your family would not have your lifestyle were it not for someone who stuck his/her neck out to run a business; or, paid enough taxes that a “government” afforded you your benefits.

    Personally, I believe there is no excuse for the tax breaks given by politicians to their benefactors.

    The business community I know… simply wants to do their thing. To be left alone without government squeezing them to death with taxes and impossible regulations.

  10. Reasonable, agreed. I believe that Crystal Lake has more than one TIF “District”, or area designated by the village to be an area where the village takes a portion of the property taxes paid to use as they would like.

    Cal, I don’t have to ask businesses about whet or not some of them avoid paying property taxes – I can just research this very blog. Over the years you’ve railed against those kinds of giveaways so I’m surprised that you now seem to be taking the position that no business avoids property taxes. Motorola did/does, Sears, CME, CBOE, CAT, Boeing, the list goes on and on. And plenty of smaller, local businesses get TIF money too – maybe not in the hundreds of millions, but they get it.

  11. Mrs. Schuster, I do not hate business. In fact, I have owned several small businesses over the years. Some very successful. Some, not so much. And I am not opposed to giving small, struggling, or new businesses a hand to help them out, within reason. My complaint is against the profitable businesses that demand handouts because they can. My complaint is with the giant corporations that threaten to leave or lay off people if they do not get paid off. That kind of thing hurts everyone, including small and mid-sized businesses. Only about 1/3 of Illinois corporations pay any income tax. That’s not right, and is a big reason why our property taxes are so high. The less taxes collected or the more taxes given away at the state level, the more the cost of services falls to us in the form of property taxes. And as I said above, there is very little evidence that throwing money at businesses just because, actually creates jobs. Why would it? What kind of business would hire additional employees that they do not need just because the state threw money at a them?

    As far a regulations, time and time again we’ve seen the results of corporate action when there is no, or very little, regulation. From the housing bubble created by greedy banks and lenders to the many superfund sites here in McHenry County, corporations need to be kept in check.

    The one thing that I’ve noticed about the McHenry County Board is that the members are really good about complaining about the state and Madigan but not so great at fighting for us. It is their job to demand from ALL legislators and the Governor that they remember that they work for us! We put the board members in office. We gave them the megaphone. They need to start using it, or it’s time to replace them. They need to stop whining and stop pretending that they have no power in the state and get to work.

  12. Audrey… you miss the point… or, maybe I need to blame myself for not making it clear.

    Rather than bat this around in the background, I have prepared a post to expand on the whole concept of the argument.

    Be clear however, I strongly oppose any government incentives to any business. In the end, it does damage to the business itself and to the overall state of the economy.

  13. To Ersel: I admire your public service to the county and thoughtful and helpful comments to this blog. My belief is that negative comments without positive, realistic alternatives are a waste of time.

    My suggestion to help relieve Illinois of the deficit is to do what Colorado has done very successfully, RE-LEGALIZE hemp, medical and recreational cannabis. New Mexico has just introduced a bill to end prohibition. This simple act will take the money from the criminal cartels that profit from cannabis prohibition. Placing cannabis in the same legal status as alcohol will have many benefits, most notably less deaths from opoids and less suicide from veterans suffering from PTSD.
    The tax benefits from legal cannabis sales in Illinois will be HUGE, the violence from gangs will decrease and the police can focus on serious crime.

    Industrial Hemp is a most useful plant and is grown in every G8 country, except the USA. If farmers were once again allowed to grow hemp, thousands of new jobs would be created in a variety of sectors. Hemp farming is great for the environment as well. for more info:

    I am FULLY aware the main proponents of keeping the entire cannabis plant illegal are the alcohol and gambling industries, big pharma, chemical companies since hemp needs little chemicals to grow profitably, the private prisons and of course, the police unions.

    Just read an article where a former employee of the DEA confessed that the DEA understands cannabis is not a danger to society, but they insists on keeping it illegal to receive federal funding. This kind of corruption must end.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Respectfully, Gary

  14. Gary, I understand your long held belief that “hemp, medical and recreational cannabis…” should be “re-legalized.”

    You can cite the “tax” benefits for the sale of these products however… the downside is the mess emerging over the costs the public will pay for the crime, health issues and societal destruction.

    There are always unintended consequences that “someone” ultimately pays for.

  15. Dear Ersel, I respect your opinion, but could you please site specifics regarding your comments?

    Cannabis medicines have been around for millennia, with very few deaths associated with its use.
    The only deaths have occurred from accidental ingestion of edibles and falling.

    Crime? The crime comes from the profits associated with the illegal trade, not from its consumption. Ask ANY police officer or emergency room nurse what causes more problems, alcohol or cannabis.

    Health? Cannabis provides a much safe alternative to alcohol and many prescription medicines.
    I just watched on youtube a police officer suffering from Parkinsons that consumed cannabis for the first time. Within 5 minutes he was tremor free and able to speak. It was like a miracle.

    I understand people of our era have been subjected to mass propaganda regarding cannabis, mainly that is a cancer causing substance worse than tobacco. It is all lies. Cannabis has been known to provide healing for cancer patients. Please see “hemp oil cancer” on youtube.

    Jesus says the love of money is the root of all evil. Both hemp and cannabis medicine have been prohibited because greedy corporations do not want competition to their inferior products.

    Hemp is the answer to many of the farmers and environments problems, please see for the full scoop. I could go on and on, but I think that is all for tonight.

    Thank you for your kind response.


  16. “…the downside is the mess emerging over the costs the public will pay for the crime, health issues and societal destruction.” You’ve obviously never smoked pot. I think that you’re thinking of alcohol.

  17. Thanks Audrey for commenting in a humorous, but probably true scenario.

    Unfortunately, there are many people in position of leadership that have bought the hysterical position that cannabis leads to degradation of society, because it is an illegal “drug”.

    Even the nominee for Attorney General. Sen Jeff Sessions stated that “good people do not smoke pot”. Gee, I wonder how many soldiers and veterans and construction workers have had a toke.

    Fortunately, Jesus said: Do not judge someone for what they eat or drink… It is not what enters the body that defiles, but what comes out of it… I think this means to be responsible, not judgemental. Everything in moderation.

    As a minister to the homeless for many years, I have never seen more destruction to a person and society than alcohol. I’ve seen totally peaceful, helpful, polite folks turn into raging, angry monsters from alcohol abuse. They can not stop once they start, some commit suicide. Yet it is completely legal to buy as much as they want and drink in front of children.

    If Ersel would like to join me to a trip to Colorado, we would see that legalization can benefit society in many, many ways. It is high time to take the blinders of “reefer madness” off. AMEN!

    If “Priest” is reading, I have decided to combine the hemp issue and med/rec cannabis issue together. Most people under the age of 60 understand like I do. Illinois can be a leader in the Midwest on this issue. Why wait any longer? Soldier on!

  18. As I’ve noted above, you need look no further than CO.

    Then there are the surrounding states banding together to stop the flow of the materials into their states.

  19. Of course, if one looks only at the negative perception provided by prohibitionists, such as a large percentage increase in emergency room visits, a person might be concerned. In reality if two people enter the ER for eating too much cannabis in 2016 as opposed to one person in 2015, the prohibitionists will scream there’s a 100% increase in ER visits! I see this trick used on FOX very often.

    Prohibitionists never mention that where cannabis is legal, there is a huge decrease in pill overdoses, reduced domestic violence and suicide. Police arrests and jail costs are reduced as well. Yes, there are some small problems, such as homeless folks gathering, but I find most ‘kind’ folks will help out the poor.

    Tax revenue from legal sales is huge and tourism is skyrocketing, providing thousands of ancillary jobs. The states complaining about trafficking of weed through their states may as well ‘see the light’ and legalize. Prohibition of cannabis JUST DOES NOT WORK, unless if one considers that states profiting from asset forfeiture and increase prison population is good economics. Not me!

    Hemp is another matter. Once there is enough acres in production, viable production facilities will spring up to process the oil, fiber, food and secondary products like America did before 1937.
    Popular Mechanics has a great article, printed in the 30’s titled. The BILLION dollar crop.
    Why should we import hemp from Canada, Russia and China? Does that make sense?

    Please understand I am not ‘pro-drug’, and have no interest in seeing hard drugs legalized. I don’t drink alcohol or use prescription medicine except for blood pressure. Weed is illegal, as I have stated before, because it is competition to man-made drugs, fiber and fossil fuel.

    I do appreciate this opportunity to express my opinions, thank you.

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