This is found on Republican Steve Reick’s campaign web site. Reick is running against Democrat Jack Franks.
More Grist For Jack’s Campaign Mill
Jack Franks is at it again, proposing legislation that does more to polish his campaign resume than to actually make substantive changes to state law.
The latest example, announced in today’s Northwest Herald, is a bill he’s proposed (H.B. 3676) that provides for changes to the Illinois Property Tax Code. There seem to be three matters which Jack feels deserve particular attention:
1. Continuing education requirements for assessing officers, imposing a requirement of 15 hours of continuing education per year.
There’s nothing wrong with this requirement, except that it’s already written into the existing law. Section 4-10 of the Property Tax Code provides:
“Compensation for Certified Illinois Assessing Officers. Subject to the requirements for continued training, any supervisor of assessments, assessor, deputy assessor or member of a board of review in any county who has earned a Certified Illinois Assessing Officers Certificate from the Illinois Property Assessment Institute shall receive from the State, out of funds appropriated to the Department from the Personal Property Tax Replacement Fund, additional compensation of $500 per year…
To continue to be eligible for the additional compensation, a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer must complete successfully a minimum of 15 class hours requiring a written examination, and the equivalent of one seminar course of 15 class hours which does not require a written examination, in each year for which additional compensation is sought after receipt of the certificate.”
Since Jack’s making continuing education a flat prerequisite for the job, is he going to go the extra step and save the state some money by eliminating the state stipend? Why offer an incentive if the education requirement is imposed with no further conditions?
2. Granting a continuance in any Board of Review hearing upon written request of the taxpayer.
Again, nothing new here. Section 16-160 of the Code provides, in part:
“In any appeal where the board of review or board of appeals has given written notice of the hearing to the taxpayer 30 days before the hearing, failure to appear at the board of review or board of appeals hearing shall be grounds for dismissal of the appeal unless a continuance is granted to the taxpayer.”
There’s a rule of statutory construction providing that if a matter is referenced within the statute, it is presumed that the underlying matter to which the reference is made is also part of the statute. In plain English, providing that an appeal will be dismissed absent a continuance means that continuances are proper procedure in such hearings.
3. Where a property’s assessed valuation is increased by more than 5%, then the burden of proof is on the assessor to prove why an increased property value is warranted.
Strike three. The entire appeals process is predicated upon the ability of the assessor to prove that the value has increased. Section 16-10 of the Code says:
“A board of review or board of appeals may summon any assessor, deputy, or other person to appear before it to be examined under oath concerning the method by which any evaluation has been ascertained, and its correctness. Any person so summoned who fails, without good cause, to appear or appearing refuses to submit to the inquiry or answer questions asked by any member of the board, or any attorney representing the board, shall be guilty of a petty offense.”
I guess that with an election coming up, we’ll probably be seeing more populist proposals like this one and his bill to eliminate the sales tax on gasoline. They look good on campaign brochures. As a meaningful improvement in the lives of the people of this district? Not so much.