Campaign Material for Opponents of Tax Hikes in Huntley and Johnsburg

A press release from Jim Tobin’s Taxpayers United of America in which he focuses on the tax hikes proposed by the Huntley Park District and the Johnsburg School District:

Taxpayers Fight Back on Local Property Tax Increases

Chicago – Illinois taxpayers are fighting local tax expansion and increase referenda with the help of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).

TUA is helping activists in Johnsburg SD 12 and Huntley Park District to defeat property tax increase referenda that would prevent taxpayers from finally getting a property tax cut when current bonds are paid off.

“Government bureaucrats in Huntley Park District and Johnsburg SD 12 are working hard to prove that no tax increase is temporary and no bond debt is ever paid off,” stated Jim Tobin, president of TUA.

“Property taxes in Illinois are second highest in the country while unemployment is nearly the highest and state income taxes were just increased 67%. [McHenry County ranks 29th in the USA for property tax burden.] Taxpayers have the opportunity to get a little relief by when current bonds are paid off, but government bureaucrats can’t have that.”

“Huntley Park District bureaucrats want $19 million and Johnsburg SD 12 wants $41 million.

Those are huge property tax increases at a time when we should be cutting property taxes.

We are still in a foreclosure crisis and some of the worst economic times of our lives. But that doesn’t stop the government bureaucrats from raising your property taxes for their own benefit.”

Moody’s has downgraded Johnsburg SD 12 credit rating as recently as January, 2014, citing:

  • Depreciating tax base valuations
  • Declining enrollment trends
  • Growing General Fund deficit balances with reliance on cash-flow borrowing to provide operational liquidity

Which means that the interest rate on these new bonds will be higher. It also means that it’s not a good time to borrow money. SD12 bureaucrats need to cut spending, not increase spending and property taxes.”

“Huntley Park District bureaucrats think it’s a good idea to increase property taxes to pay for new facilities that will be used by a very small percentage of the district’s population.”

“Taxpayers have had enough of the irresponsible spending by government bureaucrats and the willingness to force people out of their homes, if necessary to prop up their own huge salaries and lavish pensions.”

“We expect taxpayers to defeat both of these money grabs by greedy, self-serving government bureaucrats at the March 18 primary election.”

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View the Johnsburg ‘Vote No’ Flyer HERE.
View the Huntley Park District ‘Vote No’ Flyer HERE.
For more information, visit
Contact: Jim Tobin (312) 427.5128

= = = = =
Here are the leaflets (front and back):
Tobin Huntley Pd Dist flyer 2-15Tobin Huntley Pk Diat salaries 2-14Tobin Johnsburg flyer 2-14Tobin Johnsbury salaries + Pensinos 2-14


Campaign Material for Opponents of Tax Hikes in Huntley and Johnsburg — 10 Comments

  1. Eliminate Park Districts!

    We cannot afford them!


    Grafton Township spent $528,442 in their highway department for FY 2013.

    You get to drive on township roads which put Hwy. 14 (State Controlled) to shame when it comes to snow removal and maintenance.

    What do YOU get out of the Park District for which you pay $8,746,275 based on their FY 2012 Annual Financial Report filed with the state.

    Grafton had their problems with legal bills in 2013 but the entire Township Expenditures for everything was $1,905,723.

    Compare this to the park district of Huntley expenses of $8,746,275 and decide which one gives you the most for your tax dollars!!!

  2. Let’s do some compare with the private versus public sector.

    An example of a private sector government “pension contribution” (taxes) over the last 40 years into OASDHI (stands for Old Age, Survivors, Disability and Health Insurance (Social Security Act) has been $137,831 of which $95,892 was the Old Age/Survivor portion.

    From this “investment”, the individual will be receiving at age 62 and 7 months, $1,721 per month, the equivalent of $20,652 per year.

    Comparing to the just one school district examples provided, the government employees will receive from their “investment” 4 times their “ROI” (return on investment).

    I have heard from government officials that government is not a business.

    I also know this is just one part of a benefit package.

    Maybe we should compare today’s health, 401k/pension matching, and other benefits using true job descriptions to get the full picture.

    How could we have the inequality of pay fixed by government if the have a double standard now between how they treat the average public worker compared to workers within the government?

    Is the employee pension with a contribution of $0 for the $107,220 yearly pension correct?

  3. We are in big trouble, with property tax rates above 3% (mine was 3.285% last year, Seneca Township, McHenry County) and the rate of increase curve steepening. Detroit property tax rate was ‘only’ 3% and declared crisis level.
    One key issue that strikes me is the separation out of pension funds as discrete taxing districts with separate levying powers. I believe this figure is also not included in the stated calculation of “dollars spent per student” in a given school district. Very misleading when trying to assess quality of education as a function of spending per student, or attempting to ‘follow the money’.

    As in Detroit, at some ratio of property tax-to-value, people are best-off making strategic defaults and walking away from property.(I have read interviews of Congressmen unabashedly reciting their own exercise of ‘strategic default’—a euphemism for “take all the upside potential and stick somebody else with all the downside risk”. So I guess it’s ok these days. Not for me though.)

    Detroit is in the news with a possible deal to emerge from bankruptcy: bond holders getting.22 cents on dollar, underfunded pensions .25 cents on dollar.

    How can public employees in Illinois be confident in the future viability of their pensions? Once they have busted out all the privately employed people who own property here, insiders and institutional investors will be the new landlords. Investors won’t stand for property taxes that exceed mortgage interest rates. And they will have bigger, better lawyers, and more of them, than municipalities.
    Even if public employees can get their pension deals to stand, they won’t be able to afford to rent living quarters in Illinois, as rents must reflect the cost of ownership of property, including taxes. They will have to move to another state, leaving behind a crisis they helped engender.
    I am sorry to say, I think Illinois has no chance to avert disaster. Teachers and local level officials are too indoctrinated into believing that if they give some politician a dollar today, they will actually get a hamburger next Tuesday.

  4. Regarding the Johnsburg school district referendum.

    Let’s look at the money they have right now is being spent.

    What is happening to taxpayer money that is already allocated to education?

    Taxpayer money comes from many sources to the local school district.

    Federal money, state money, local property tax money.

    The #1 public education money problem area?

    Pensions are too generous.

    Why are pensions too generous?

    State Representatives, Senators, and Governors granted pension benefit increases through state law (Public Acts) in exchange for campaign contributions, votes, and electioneering assistance.

    The State of Illinois contribution to pensions is too generous.

    Because of the aforementioned pension benefit increases.

    That State of Illinois contribution sucks away money that could go to maintain facilities, build facilities, and use in the classroom.

    Where else is the money being spent?

    Retiree healthcare.

    Current salaries.

    Current healthcare benefits and other perks.

    Once again, retiree healthcare benefits were increased by State Legislators and Governors in exchange for campaign contributions, votes, and electioneering assistance.

    Because teachers are a huge voting block.

    Give teacher union lobbyists what they want, and in return teacher unions have lots of campaign contributions and endorse candidates to their large membership.

    So we can reform pensions and retiree healthcare at the state level.

    At the local level we can reform salaries through better collective bargaining agreements and administrator
    contracts which are both approved by the local school board.

    Reform benefits at the local level which are approved by the local school board.

    But that’s difficult to do because the majority of the school board is typically endorsed by the teacher union.

    So the school board typically represents the teachers first and the taxpayers separate.

    And when they are not doing that, chances are they have no clue how school district finance really works, because it’s complex.

    Back to pensions.

    Referring to the Johnsburg School District 12 exhibit above.

    Look at employee contribution compared to pension payout.

    In two years of retirement the employee recoups their entire lifetime pension investment.


    You can’t get that in Social Security and a 401K.

    This is a problem all through the Chicago suburbs and all over the state.

    The Teachers Retirement System of Illinois (TRS) employee contributions compared to payout is off the charts.

    The return on investment is unreal.

    Even if the so called pension reform is upheld in court, we need much more pension reform.
    Pension Reform was:

    Public Act 98-599 signed by Governor Pat Quinn on December 5, 2013.

    SB1 was the legislation that became PA 99-599.

    SB 1 passed the Illinois House and Senate on December 3, 2013.

    SB 1 was 327 pages.

    SB 1 was presented to Representatives and Senators for consideration on December 2, 2013.

    Senators and Representatives had 1 day to digest 327 pages.


    Incredible it’s allowable by law.

    Basically at the local level school boards knowingly or not siphon money off the top for salaries and benefits and there are table crumbs left for everything else like maintaining facilities or saving to build new facilities.

  5. Whenever you see “cost per pupil” of educating a child in the Illinois public school system, unless otherwise stated, the cost does NOT include the State of Illinois Contribution to the TRS pension plan.

    I’ve only ONCE seen the concept of the State of Illinois Contribution to the TRS pension plan included in “cost per pupil”.

    That was from Bill Zettler.

    If you don’t have his book you can buy the Kindle version for $3 and read it on your PC or smartphone.

    Kindle allows you to search on keywords such as “contribution” for example or whatever it is you want to learn about at the moment.

    By the way.

    Regarding the Johnsburg school district referendum and the Huntley Park District referendum.

    Ask them.

    Would those bonds be competitive bid or negotiated.

    You want competitive bid for lower fees.

    There are huge profits that are often made off witting or unwitting local government boards in Illinois on negotiated bond deals.

    Competitive bid is just that, multiple sources bid for the business, say for instance on an internet bond
    auction site.

    Negotiated is all too often the good old boys club, and when there’s big profits to be made, all kinds of
    wheeling and dealing may or may not happen.


    Some of these bond deals are structured so there are low payments in year 1 which is advertised in the referendum, “$x dollar in taxes on a $x dollar house”.

    Then your payment increases in subsequent years, like a laddder.

    The repayment of bonds can be structured in an almost unlimited number of ways.

    So ask about the payment for every year.

    What about year 2.

    Year 3.

    Year 4.

    etc. for each year of the life cycle of the repayment of the bond debt.

    Sometimes the payments escalate for a reason.

    For instance, there is likely existing debt, so the overall payments should be looked at.

    That’s called the overall debt service.

    Look at those figures.

    The debt service which would result form the new issue, plus the existing debt service.

    Many times when they issue the debt, the financial planner or board or someone will know that future payments will be too high, but taxpayers are not told this.

    When payments get to high, the refund or refinance the debt, thus kicking the can down the road.

    It costs more taxpayer money to refund or refinance the debt, if the sole purpose is to kick the can down the
    road, and not for instance to obtain a lower interest rate.

    In the meantime far too many taxing districts reward themselves with big pay and benefit increases, while shorting maintaining buildings or saving money for new buildings.

    Isn’t it amazing when there is a need for a new facility, rarely does a dime come out of the school district’s savings account?

    When you buy a house, do you finance 100% of the house?

    So many referendums for new school district or park district or municipal buildings are “no money down.”

    Haven’t looked at Johnsburg School District or Huntley Park District finances.

    This may or may not apply to bond deals under consideration.

  6. Let’s say you want to educate yourself more about Johnsburg CUSD 12 and Huntley Park District Bonds.

    Lucky for you a Federal Government regulatory agency has created a website to allow you to do just that.

    It’s a repository of information related to specific municipal bond issues.

    Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB).

    Electronic Municipal Market Acces (EMMA).

    You can type the name of any municipality or local taxing district into the search bar.

    You will soon learn there is something called a CUSIP-6.

    Each local taxing district that issues bonds has a CUSIP-6.

    The CUSIP-6 is the first 6 digits of the CUSIP.

    The full CUSIP is 9 digits.

    CUSIP = Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures

    The CUSIP-6 for:

    Huntley Park District: 446873

    Johnsburg CUSD 12: 580849

    Type one of those numbers into the search bar on the EMMA website.

    Hit enter.

    In the next page, click on the Issue Description of the most recent date in the date column.

    Then poke around.

    You will want to look at the Official Statement (OS).

    The OS contains lots of detailed financial information about the taxing district for investors whom are
    considering purchasing bonds issued by the taxing district.

    Also visit the website of the taxing districts and look at the Board Agenda, Board Minutes, and video of the
    Board meetings at which the bonds were discussed.

    If you are assuming the newspapers are doing all that you are probably assuming wrong.

    Probably very few to no one is doing all that.

    Which is why taxes keep going up and up and up.

    It takes a lot of work to learn what is really happening, you will only save a few bucks off your tax bill,
    and 1/2 of the people either don’t care or will disagree with your conclusions.

    In the meantime well or ill intentioned people are building tax district empires.

  7. Regarding dollars spent per student in public schools.

    Otherwise known as per pupil cost.

    Bill Zettler discuss this subject in Chapter 5.2 of his book titled:

    “Illinois’ $30 billion/yr. K-12 Cost Can Be Reduce Significantly.”

    He writes.

    “The ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education) provides a report called ‘Total Expenditures, Operating Expense Per Pupil’ from costs collected for each of the 870 school districts.”

    He then describes what costs that report does NOT include.

    For a $3 investment of the Kindle version of the book you can read all about it.

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