Cutting County Taxes Without Cutting Spending: Use Savings

This article is run for a second time, because of the slight of hand that Jack Franks and the McHenry County Board may pull while claiming to cut taxes.

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How is that possible, you ask?

By taking money McHenry County has in the bank and spending it.

That is apparently what McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks intends to do next year.

Here is the relevant policy change passed by the Board on June 19, 2018:

From Resolution 6855 passed on June 19, 2018. See page 196..

The property tax levy is almost $72 million this year.

If the same amount were spent every month, the county would have $6 million more with which to spend and/or cut real estate taxes.

If all were given back to property taxpayers, the tax levy could be cut by about 8.3%.

But Franks has announced only a 3.8% tax cut goal.

That would be about a $2.7 million cut from this year’s $71,839,960 tax levy.

That’s only about 45% of the $6 million that the bank balance is being cut.

Correct my math if my chain of logic is incorrect, but that leaves about $3.3 million to be spent elsewhere.

So, that’s how McHenry County government can cut taxes without cutting spending; instead actually increasing spending.

In Springfield, this would be characterized as using smoke and mirrors.


Cutting County Taxes Without Cutting Spending: Use Savings — 14 Comments

  1. **In Springfield, this would be characterized as using smoke and mirrors.**

    BS. Its not smoke and mirrors. Smoke and mirrors means that something is fake. The tax cuts are not fake. And Franks is being smart about using excessive reserves to lower property taxes.

    The funny thing is that you all complain about high reserves. Jack Franks does something about it, and then you call it smoke and mirrors.

  2. Actually, five months is more appropriate given the stability of the county’s revenue sources.

  3. Tax cuts without equivalent spending cuts are smoke and mirrors.

  4. Why didn’t you write an article when Serwatka did it to Lakewood?

  5. Clearly the trend is unsustainable.

    But I’ll still take cutting taxes over not cutting taxes.

    Oh, and Jason, I believe you voted for those budgets in Lakewood, so point the finger at yourself while you’re at it.

  6. I did tell you Cal. In fact, you ran a story on my comment regarding, among other items, using Village assets to reduce taxes. Steve Willson defended the use of reserves to reduce taxes in comments on April 7, 2017.

    I continued to put out information regarding “fake” tax cuts and made comments on several blog articles where Steve Willson used it as an attack against me, stating I was against cutting taxes.

    On December 12, 2017, Steve Willson congratulated the Board on the 10% tax cut, musing, “I’m disappointed that the Board chose to only make half the cut permanent.

    The reason only half the cut was permanent is because Board members, like myself, saw through the guidance Steve Willson gave Paul and refused to allow the permanent cut knowing he was manipulating the budget.

    In fact, you will find I made many comments, during the budget meetings, regarding potential pitfalls found in the proposed budget. A process in which chaos was intentionally created by changing the budget presentation format to give the illusion of a balanced budget. Not to mention Serwatka cycling through 3 managers during the budget process and backing the Board up against deadlines.

    I don’t need to look at myself. As a single Board member, I did everything possible to curtail the damage. Now that cooler heads prevail and political posturing is absent from the Board, we should be able to set a clear financial path for Lakewood.

  7. Thank You Steve Willson !

    I do remember when a Lakewood Village Board were afraid of your knowledge, maybe now people will listen.

    I remember when the Golden Screw Award was given, I am surprised there were not any heart attacks.

  8. Guessing it’s a picture of anonymous blog commentators…

  9. **Tax cuts without equivalent spending cuts are smoke and mirrors.**

    Was it a tax cut or not? There are a variety of ways to achieve tax cuts. Your preferred way isn’t the only one.

    **Why didn’t you write an article when Serwatka did it to Lakewood?**

    LOL – because Cal only uses fake arguments to attack those he doesn’t like.

  10. Jason, I asked you a simple question: Did you vote for this budget that you decried so loudly?

    I noticed that you failed to answer that question.

    The reason, of course, is that you DID vote for it.

    So you complain bitterly about the actions everyone else took when you took the identical action.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Otherwise, admit it.

  11. Steve, I did answer your question, maybe not clear enough.

    – Perhaps you should re-read my statement. There is not one sentence complaining about the “actions everyone else took”. In fact, I made a point to state the other Board members saw thru the “manipulation” as well, voting unanimously in favor of the compromise budget NOT the original presented by Serwatka.

    – I did NOT vote for the budget I “decried so loudly”. The budget I “decried so loudly” was a manipulation derived to strip the Village of cash of which you believe the Village has too much.

    The annual road maintenance budget was moved from the regular budget to a new capital projects budget. This was a designed manipulation. Giving the appearance 10% was cut from the budget while still maintaining roads. However, the capital projects budget did not receive any allocations from the general fund which meant Lakewood was spending reserves.

    – The budget I voted for was the budget YOU decried as not going far enough. The budget I (and the rest of the Board) voted for was a compromise that included a 5% permanent cut which seemed reasonably attainable. The Board agreed we would re-visit our needs with regard to reserves, debt and future asset maintenance before allowing reserves to be depleted further. Extremely reasonable.

    I am 100% for cutting taxes where possible BUT not through the use of reserves. If a government entity has excessive reserves there should be some analysis done prior to depleting said reserves.

    In my opinion prior to reducing reserves a capital needs and debt analysis should be performed.

    1. Understand upcoming one time expenditures and deferred maintenance on assets. Governments rely heavily on borrowing, which costs taxpayers more in the end. Use excess reserves instead of borrowing.

    2. If there are not significant upcoming projects, use the money to pay down debt. Paying down debt will be better for taxpayers in the long run than $100 in their pocket.

    3. If there are not large capital expenditures and there is no debt, use the money to offset general expenses, thereby reducing taxes. This should be done gradually over a number of years and only if there are no changes in # 1 or 2.

    McHenry County spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to return $100 to each taxpayer is insane. I was pointing out the hypocrisy of supporting this from Serwatka in Lakewood and then chastising Franks. I did not agree with it when Serwatka did it and I do not agree with Franks either. This was and is nothing more than political posturing at the taxpayers expense.

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