708 Board Giving Only 10% of Tax Money to Developmentally Disabled

As I have stated since last fall, when I was McHenry County Treasurer I delivered the first checks approved by the new 708 Board.

To repeat myself, the referendum to approve the tax hike was supported by the McHenry County Association for the Retarded and the mental health advocacy group at the time.

I’m remembering that the checks I delivered were $25,000 for Pioneer Center (located then in the old Terra Cotta School) and $25,000 for Family Services down the street from now-McHenry East High School).

A 50-50 split.

Now I read in Bob McCoppin’s Chicago Tribune article that only “10 percent gotes to developmental-disabilities assistance.”

That sentence really deserves an exclamation point.

From 50-50, mental health to DD, to 10% for DD and  90% for mental health.

Talk about a governing board that has lost its way.

The folks at Pioneer Center think the answer is to pass a referendum Tuesday that will raise $9 million the first year.

The 708 Board billed $12,694,903.91 last year from property taxpayers.  (I think I overestimated the amount in previous articles at $15 million.  My apologiy.)

The 708 Board’s taxes bill more this spring.

If the 708 Board were giving DD services the 50% that I remember was the case in the late 1960’s, Pioneer Center and other agencies servicing the Developmentally Disabled would be getting about $6 million a year.

The other $700,000 ought to be enough for administration.

Actually 5% ought to be enough.

So, if DD services are now getting $1.2 million, as I deduce from the Tribune article, passage of the 377 referendum on Tuesday, would increase that amount to $9 million, plus what seems to be about today’s $1.2 million from the 708 Board.

Or, after passage, would the 708 Board forget why it was created and start giving DD services nothing?

There is an alternative.

And, maybe it will be considered if the referendum fails.

This is McHenry County Board's Public Health Committee.  Consisting of Donna Kurtz, Chairman, and members Mary McCann, Sandy Salgado,

This is McHenry County Board’s Public Health Committee. Consisting of Donna Kurtz, chairing the meeting at the head of the table, and members (from left to right) Mary McCann, Sandy Salgado, Paula Yensen and Mike Walkup.  John Hammerand is missing from the picture.

The McHenry County Board has ultimate budget power over the 708 Board.

If the County Board does not approve the 708 Board’s levy, its tax take would be zero.

So, why doesn’t the County Board set guidelines for the next levy?

Tell the Board it gets 5% for administrative expenses.

And require the grants to service agencies to be 50% to DD and 50% to mental health.

= = = = =
If you haven’t read my updated critique of the tax hikers’ deceptive robo-call, which came a second time Friday nigh, you can do so here.

In the article is the chart showing McHenry County having the 29th highest property taxes.

Not in Illinois.

In the United States of America.


708 Board Giving Only 10% of Tax Money to Developmentally Disabled — 9 Comments

  1. This letter is in support of the proposal to fund an approximately $9 million tax increase for a 377 board to represent the interests of developmentally delayed, (DD) individuals in McHenry County.

    This money will go towards supporting the DD population so that these people can lead more meaningful purposeful lives and to provide respite and realistic choices of the family members, siblings and parents of the DD.

    Currently there is an appalling lack of life options such as college, independent living, and work centers for DD folks in McHenry County.

    I understand Carl Skinner’s view that we do not need another taxing body and the existing 708 Mental Health board should fund the DD needs.

    The fact is the current budget of McHenry County, $252 million (2010) does not fund these needs, so we need more funds.

    Mr. Skinner’s suggestion that to support the DD needs requires reducing the budget for other folks such as teachers, fire fighters, police, sanitation, road, etc is not logical, given that we need all of these to provide a healthy competitive society in McHenry County.

    Especially in a global economy we need the best teachers and other government career workers.

    I know this is a fact since I am a high technology person directly involved in advance technology.

    All of my experience tells me high technology workers want to live in excellent societies. We all want the most efficient best government.

    The real question is are we as a society willing to pay what is required to support a society in McHenry County that is globally #1.

    This means the best students, the best neighborhoods, the best infrastructure.

    Even high technology workers have families that have DD folks.

    Our total tax burden is low relative to other localities in all other advanced economies.

    To say that we are currently overly taxed is simply not correct.

    If we compare McHenry County to others on a globally competitive basis the USA is # 27 with respect to the total tax burden.

    Alternatively, if we say we are overly taxed because we do not believe that society should publicly fund society’s needs is to say we do not care enough about the DD folks or other critical public needs such as creating the best education, manufacturing skills, infrastructure, public health, etc.

    So which is it?

    Do we not care enough to pay for these things?

    Or are we paying more total taxes than other global localities?

    …Clearly we pay less in taxes than other localities in advanced countries.

    The population of McHenry County is approximately 320,000, a mere 1.5 %, or about 5,000 folks are DD.

    If you are not personally affected with a sibling or child with developmental disability, then I say you have no idea what the real issue is.

    It is no wonder that many folks do not favor money to support the DD.

    For most people, this is just another special interest.

    Please vote to fund the development disability board.


    Ernest J Sirois, PhD (Materials Science Engineering, UIUC 1990, thanks to USA government NSF,DOE,DOD)

  2. From 50-50, mental health to DD, to 10% for DD and 20% for mental health, and 70% for Frank Gosser’s bill and the 708 Board palace. Talk about a governing board that has lost its way.

    Fixed that for you, Cal.

  3. In other words Ernest, ignore the real issue and just throw more money at it!

    “The fact is the current budget of McHenry County, $252 million (2010) does not fund these needs, so we need more funds. ”

    Sounds like our federal department of education.

    Billions more in educational funding each year but the product produced is so bad we need to import people to do the job American cannot do?

    If you are in the tech sector, how many visa workers at your side?

  4. Ernest please feel free to donate as much money as you wish to McHenry County.

    A European socialist economy is not an answer to our current economic malaise.

  5. Much as I love the well intentioned and impassioned positions of people wanting government to collect money to serve warm fuzzies like “children” and the “developmentally disabled” I might offer a slightly different perspective about government’s “Needs List”.

    First of all I would never tell an American their tax load isn’t nearly as bad as people in other countries.

    This is a losing argument with any true American as we don’t much care at all what the Joneses are doing down the street.

    This is our house with our rules and you will abide by them.

    If you don’t like them you are free to move out and live within whatever strictures you wish.

    Second, I might point out in Illinois the schools collect two thirds of all property taxes to serve the children and studies have shown more money to the schools does not translate to more money in the classroom.

    It only translates to more money collected.

    The average taxpayer became inured to the “it’s for the children” argument years ago and doesn’t pay this idiocy any attention any longer.

    I rather doubt changing the argument from the warm fuzzy of children to “its for the mentally and physically challenged and if you don’t give more of your money to them you are a monster” will net a different response from the overburdened and undervalued producers in society.

    We are tired of government telling us they can care for our neighbor better than we can.

    If you think government is the answer there are several dozen countries in the world who would gladly welcome you.

    Move there.

    Americans love and value their neighbors and we don’t need government to tell us how to do this.

    We are the most charitable givers on the planet.

    You’ll never guilt us into giving a bunch of whiny politicians more money to ineffectively produce nothing.

    Third, if children or the developmentally disabled were such a priority to society and government then perhaps those entrusted with the taxpayer’s money to see to their care would stop paying out exorbitant administrator salaries and pensions.

    Perhaps they would make the children and the developmentally disabled a priority with the money they currently collect.

    Perhaps they would make certain wonderful places like our local schools, Little City and Pioneer Center were well and truly funded from current budgets.

    Perhaps they would make sure each and every individual with a need would receive this help, from the children in the classroom with hard working teachers to those with handicaps and their families needing just a little hand up.

    I have learned, from long experience, government’s interest is only in itself.

    They play well with others only to garner more power and money for themselves.

    If what they do actually serves others it’s an accidental byproduct of the never ending search to feed the need for more money and power.

    Support your church. Support Little City and Pioneer Center. Support your local school. Do it directly and bypass the waste of money, time and effort which is Government.

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