Steve Bishop Opposes Spring Grove Tax Hike

A press release from Spring Grove Village Trustee candidate Steve Bishop:

Spring Grove Trustee Candidate Steven Bishop Takes A Stand Against Property Tax Increase

Unfunded State mandates and rising expenses are straining local budgets.

In Spring Grove, the Village Board placed a referendum on the ballot for a property tax increase to insure they meet their expenses.

Bishop, SteveSteven Bishop, candidate for Spring Grove Village Trustee stated earlier this week:

“I believe there is enough room under the current tax cap to avoid a property tax increase.  The Board is taking an extremely conservative stand financially, and is concerned that the stagnant economy will not provide the needed revenue growth in the future.”

Bishop further said,

“The majority of my neighbors are against a property tax increase and I believe it is the responsibility of the Board to serve the wishes of the people.

“The referendum will fail to pass and the Village Board will continue to spend within the current constraints as they have in recent years, without raising property taxes.”

Steven Bishop is the former Antioch Township Chairman and is returning to an active roll in the community with his run for Trustee in Spring Grove.

He is no stranger to working with limited budgets as he found a way to make ends meet while working as a board member with a number of volunteer organizations.

Steven further added:

“I know this can be done.  I will be working with the Village Board and our Village President to encourage greater economic development that will generate the revenue needed to offset the recent rise in expenses.”  ​

The referendum ballot is below:
SG ref police pension tax 4-15


Steve Bishop Opposes Spring Grove Tax Hike — 24 Comments

  1. Funny how Bishop was in favor of the tax until Ryan Powell came out agains it. Hmmm!

  2. Don’t know Ryan Powell, but I sure do know that Bishop has been against ANY tax increase for, at least, several years. He is a free thinker and will be a great addition to the village board.

  3. Since Steve announced he was running for Trustee I have never heard him say he was in favor of the tax.

    Steve is a principled man and I know he believes the government must work within its mean without over reach at the expense of the citizen.

  4. Excuse me, but when you host a meet and greet and allow Spring Grove village president to come and speak to push the tax referendum that pretty much speaks for itself.

    Now he’s against the tax?

    Maybe Walsh freedoms pledge that he signed really does mean something.

    It’s too bad Bishop was too weak to stop Eisenberg at his own meet and greet.

    That doesn’t show any free thinking or principles.

    That showed group think.

    Cozy up to Eisenberg to get his endorsement and approval instead of just opposing the tax referendum.


  5. Rather than focusing on human individual behavior, I would rather look at systemic impact.

    No matter who is elected, the human in office will be subjected to the temptation of succumbing to peer pressure to spend more, enticements from beneficiaries of increased spending, and pleas to not cut jobs of humans with whom the officeholder/someone-in-a-position-of-influence-with-office-holder has insider connection.

    This County is notorious for not having cut spending (actually increasing spending) during the Great Recession of 2008-?.

    Our property values reflect that policy. Our property values are still decreasing comparatively to national property values increasing.

    Our tax rates are arguably the highest in America (over 4% in Woodstock D200 western McHenry County), and we do not have services or school test scores to justify this anomaly.

    Systemically, we need some higher governance which will limit the availability of property tax dollars to human office-holders who are naturally subject to human temptations.

  6. Hit the nail on the head, Crusher.

    Bishop should have spoken out then.

    He knew village president was pushing for the tax all along.

    He went right along with it.

    Ryan was outspoken about it from the get go.

    Vote for Powell.

  7. The purpose of a statutory “Limiting Rate” was to enforce some systemic governance on what each taxing body could take (and by take, that means by law the amount which a homeowner is required to pay in order to retain legal ownership of their own home)as a function of home values.

    Everybody seen ‘The Producers’?

    The premise of which is that money-raisers can make a big profit by selling more than 100% interest in a project?

    When some McHenry County homeowners look at the percentage rate of their own home values pledged as legally binding collateral for public debt, they will be horrified.

    For one example, in Woodstock School District 200, the district has borrowed so much money and accrued so much deferred interest that we all owe over 6.5% of our home value to this debt.

    And it rises every year.

    If you don’t think it can happen to you… be advised, we didn’t think it could happen to us.

  8. It saddens me to hear people talk about others without knowing the facts.

    I have seen it in many campaigns over the years.

    Bishop has been against the referendum from the beginning.


    JamesK, Powell, really.

    I applaud him for being against the referendum but he lives with mom and dad and has never paid a property tax bill.

    And he’s going to tell us how to spend our money.

  9. A major financial problem facing Spring Grove and most Illinois municipalities is underfunded Police pension funds.

    Pensions are underfunded because:

    The Illinois General assembly hiked pension benefits over the years.

    Local municipalities hiked salaries over the years.

    Hiked pension benefits and hiked salaries, hikes the contribution from the municipality to the pension fund, and hikes the eventual pension payout to the pensioner.

    While it is true if the municipality had fully funded the pension there would be no problem that is not the root cause.

    The root cause is the legislators and Governors hiked the benefits, and the municipality hiked the salaries, WHILE PENSIONS WERE UNDERFUNDED.

    That makes no sense.

    That’s like putting additional charges on a credit card which is carrying a balance every month.

    If you can’t pay off your credit card balance every month, reduce charging until the balance can be paid off every month.

    If you can’t fully fund pensions, don’t hike pension benefits and salaries.

    So politicians at the state and local level thought it was a great idea to hike pension benefits and salaries, and the employees didn’t object very strenuously, because the Illinois State Constitution guarantees the pensions on the backs of taxpayers.

    There is NO LIMIT how much pension benefits can be increased.

    But irregardless of how greatly pension benefits are increased, and how high salaries are increased, the Illinois State Constitution states the pensions are guaranteed.

    An extraordinarily unjust constitutional claim forcing taxpayers to fund special interests.

    Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA)
    Fiscal Analysis of the Downstate Police & Downstate Fire Pension Funds in Illinois
    February 2015

    Spring Grove Police Pension Fund Funding Ratio History
    2008 – 49.88%
    2009 – 46.34%
    2010 – 48.91%
    2011 – DNA
    2012 – 35.43%
    2013 – 36.40%

    Spring Grove Police Pension Fund Funding Status as of FY 2013 (Fiscal Year 2013)
    Accrued Liability – $5,239,963
    Actuarial Value of Assets – $1,907,539
    Unfunded Liability – $3,332,424
    Funded Ratio – 36.40%

    Accrued Liability is the estimate of how much needs to be in the pension fund right now.
    Actuarial Value of Assets is the estimate of how much is in the fund right now.
    Unfunded Liability is the estimate of the shortfall, which is the taxpayer IOU to the pension fund.
    Funded Ratio is the percentage off full funding.

    36% funded ratio is miserable.

    Spring Grove Police is amongst the worse funded Police pensions in Illinois.

    The same scenario of legislative pension benefit hikes and local salary hikes has played out in all the 18 public sector pension funds in Illinois (IMRF is better funded because municipalities are forced to more fully fund it on an annual basis and the benefit and salary hikes often have been more modest).

    Illinois State Constitution
    Created by elected delegates including Michael Madigan and the second Richard Daley.
    Subsequently approved by voters on December 15, 1970.
    That constitutional rewrite included many changes including the public sector retiree benefits guarantee, which through the Kanerva vs Weems Illinois Supreme Court 2014 decision includes retiree healthcare.

    Article XIII – General Provisions
    Section 5. Pension and Retirement Rights
    Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

    That’s it.

    One sentence.

    The spark which ignited the fire creating one of the most unjust taxpayer obligations in the history of mankind.

  10. Bloggers, it’s so easy to run on a platform and say you are anti-tax when there is a tax referendum on the ballot, yet have no real substance to back it up.

    You should also REALLY check with Mr. Bishop and Mr. Powell if they have flip flopped on the issue.

    Anyone that says they are anti-tax definitely will “get” votes….not earn them.

    There’s nothing in Mr. Bishop’s letter posted here that offers any real solutions.

    There’s just political speak.

    Mr. Bishop says “I will be working with the Village Board and our Village President to encourage greater economic development that will generate the revenue needed to offset the recent rise in expenses.”

    I honestly think every existing and future Trustee would be doing that, wouldn’t they?

    What are Bishop and/or Powell really offering and bringing to the table?

    They have no real platform if this referendum wasn’t on the ballot.

    The voters are going to chose if they approve the tax referendum or not and there’s already been a statement by the Village President on how the village would address if the referendum didn’t pass.

    So, it doesn’t matter if you are anti-tax at all as a candidate.

    Be smarter people.

    Choose what you want to believe.

    Go ahead and vote for anti-tax candidates and see what it gets you.

    The underlying issue will remain.

    Here’s another topic:

    What are these candidates plans if Governor Rauner’s tax revenue cuts are approved?

    We haven’t seen anything in Mr. Bishop’s letter about that.

    Spring Grove tends to lose $258,000 in revenue.

    Will they just want to work with the Village Board and Village President “because he knows this can be done” according to Steve Bishop?

    How will Governor Rauner’s tax revenue cut’s impact McHenry County?

    I’m assuming McHenry County will not raise taxes to make up the deficit they stand to lose. (McHenry County -> The 29th highest paying tax county in the Country is what I saw posted here previously)

    This is a pretty weak platform to run on folks, but thank goodness the referendum is on the ballot for them to feed off of.

    We can only encourage voters and residents to be smarter than this.

  11. There is more information about the Spring Grove Police Pension Fund in the Village of Spring Grove Annual Financial Report (AFR) which is sometimes referred to as the audit report.

    Spring Grove Police Pension Trust Fund
    Year Ended April 30, 2014

    Employer – $282,537
    Plan Members – $56,930
    Total Contributions – $339,467

    Investment Income
    Interest Income – $7,355
    Unrealized Gain/(Loss) – $18,877
    Realized Gain/(Loss) – $11,187
    Net Investment Income – $37,419
    Total Additions – $376,886

    Benefits – $136,691
    Administrative Expenses – $4,308
    Total Deductions – $140,999

    Net Increase/(Decrease) – $235,887
    Net Position Held in Trust for Pension Benefits – May 1, 2013 – $1,823,352
    Net Position Held in Trust for Pension Benefits – April 30, 2014 – $2,059,239

  12. The entire current village board is supporting the tax referendum.

    Without cutting any expenses.

    I doubt this referendum will pass.

    Who in their right mind is going to vote for another tax, in Illinois?

    Then what?

    back to the tax payers the next election?

    This village board is out of ideas.

    What is the crime rate in Spring Grove?

    How many officers are needed to protect this village that has it’s own MRAP vehicle?

    Isn’t that enough to deter crime there?

    It appears to me, that this village board is out to protect their own, the village employees, as opposed to really being public servants.

    The next article should be on how Spring Grove Village officials have run small businesses out of town with their “sign police”.

  13. Here is some more information from the Village of Spring Grove Annual Financial Report (AFR) about the Police Pension Fund.

    Property Taxes

    Tax Year ———————-2013 —–2012 —- 2011
    Corporate —————- $357,234 – $357,031 – $455,514
    Police Pension Extension – $296,000 – $283,000 – $161,854
    Township Road & Bridge — $039,477 – $043,780 – $042,585
    Special Service Areas —- $199,821 – $187,291 – $187,038

    Police pension taxes are increasing and taking up an ever increasing amount of the total taxes paid by taxpayers to the village.

    Yet the pension fund is only 36% funded.

    This ever increasing taxes for police pension drama is playing out all over the Chicago suburbs.

    But it does not stop with police.

    Add fire (Downstate Fire Pension Fund).

    Add teachers and administrators (TRS).

    Add state workers (SERS).

    Add university workers (SURS).

    Add IMRF (that’s the pension line items on your property tax bill and is for municipal and county workers other than police and fire).

    Add judges (JRS).

    Add state legislators (GARS).

    The result.

    Property and income taxes will increase, services will decrease, and pension reform is an absolute must to prevent a crisis of taxpayers fleeing the state which will at some point result in reduced tax revenues no matter how high taxes are raised due to the Laffer Curve.

    All because the politicians, unions, and others in the pension systems have not been upfront with taxpayers about how legislative benefit hikes and salary hikes have hiked pensions.

    If pensions were fully funded the tax hikes would have caused taxpayer outcry decades ago.

    Instead the pensions were underfunded which kicked the can down the road causing a crisis at a later date.

  14. Good on Ryne Powell and good on Steve Bishop for coming out AGAINST this tax referendum.

    These local elected officials have no concept of budget reduction and “right sizing” of government.

    It is going to take good people – people who exhibit REAL leadership to take on the issue of enormous, outrageous taxation in McHenry County and Illinois – to turn the tide.

    Illinois is the 2nd most expensive state when it comes to property taxes.

    McHenry County is the 29th most expensive county to live in… IN THE UNITED STATES.

    …and the slate in Spring Grove wants to make it worse.

    Now the citizens of Spring Grove have a choice.

    Andrew Gasser

  15. If there are 28 counties paying higher than 4% property tax rates (as we do here), I can’t find them.

    Humans in office cannot force themselves to lower spending.

    They’re cajoled by potential recipients of public money, and threatened by current recipients.

    Solve our problem from the other direction: limit the pool of money to which office holders have access by setting a tax rate cap on property values.

    California has had a 1% property tax cap for over 40 years.

  16. From the Better Government Association Salary Database, here are 2013 Spring Grove salaries.

    Thomas Sanders —— $96,096 – Chief of Police. Member of Police Pension Board.
    Donald Regnier —— $70,100 – Retired Chief of Police & County Police, also on Police Pension Board.
    David Holem ——— $66,206
    Sandra Rusher ——- $61,624 – Village Treasurer
    Jason Hintz ——— $61,214
    Stanley St. Clair — $61,214
    George Anderson Jr. – $58,156
    Gregory Regnier —– $58,156 – Regnier #2
    Sheila Schindler —- $58,156
    Richard Kresen —— $56,513
    Matthew Wittum —- – $55,036
    Dustin Haney ——– $46,737
    Donna Regnier ——- $43,492 – Regnier #3
    Trent Turner ——– $42,016 – Building & Zoning Officer
    James Richmond —— $40,851
    Michael Ringler —– $40,851
    Jeffrey Leslie —— $37,918
    Robert Walczak —— $37,481
    Cynthia Tierney —– $37,273
    Judy Olson ———- $35,360 – Village Treasurer
    Laura Frumet ——– $34,424 – Deputy Clerk
    Jason Loring ——– $33,280
    Randy Adams ——— $32,781
    Ronald Moore ——– $32,454
    Janice Bannon ——- $13,166
    Mark Eisenberg —— $12,000 – Village President (elected), former Village of Spring Green trustee.
    Susan Lanigan ——- $06,303
    George Anhalt ——- $05,000 – Trustee (elected)
    Delbert Houghton —- $05,000 – Trustee (elected)
    Ronald Kopke ——– $05,000 – Trustee (elected)
    Michael Lee ——— $05,000 – Trustee (elected)
    Patrick Mazzanti —- $05,000 – Trustee (elected)
    Robert McMahon —— $05,000 – Trustee (elected)

    Thomas Sanders
    – Current Chief of Police.
    – Current member of Spring Grove Police Pension Board.
    – Contributes to Downstate Police pension?
    – Spring Grove Village President 2005 – 2007.
    – Spring Grove Village Trustee approximately 1992 – 2005.
    – Receiving IMRF pension of $65,523 for 32 years of service, benefit start date January 1, 2004.
    – Retired McHenry County Sheriff Deputy.

    Donald Regnier
    – Spring Grove Village President (elected).
    – Retired as Spring Grove Chief of Police in 2007 (Downstate Police pension?).
    – Current member of Village of Spring Grove Police Pension Board.
    – Gregory Regnier employed by village, $58,156.
    – Donna Regnier employed by village, $43,492.
    – Bryan Regnier employed by village in 2007 ($11,834) & 2008 ($13,016).
    – Bryan’s salaries from

    Downstate Police and Fire pensions are only currently available via submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the specific police or fire pension board.

    Police and Fire pensions outside Chicago are not currently available in the Better Government Association or Open The Books databases, which is a major lack of transparency, as the pensions offer very generous benefits including disability.

    Donald Regnier may currently be receiving a Downstate Police Pension.

  17. Really Steve Bishop?

    You are in this town for a very short period of time (people in your own subdivision didn’t even know you lived there) and you send YOUR uneducated people around town going door to door saying the village is lying about about needing more revenue.

    This Bishop Backer is also saying the budget will be balanced for the next 12 years?


    Also saying that residents “don’t need to worry about the Police Pension because it will be funded anyway” <- EXACT WORDS USED BY Steve Bishop's person going door to door.

    When this "Bishop Backer" was asked HOW it would be funded – he said he didn't know and he didn't know if Mr. Bishop knew either.

    If you are going to have people go door to door for you Steve Bishop – make sure they are educated. This Bishop Backer clearly wasn't.

    Spring Grove residents who have been in town longer than Mr. Bishop are definitely concerned, but also are smarter than this.

    Step up Steve Bishop.

  18. Ryne Powell will never be able to own a home in Spring Grove at the rate we are going. It’s too expensive and the taxes are too high.

    Get a clue saddened.

    Perhaps he’s going to make sure he can afford to live in Spring Grove by being on the village board.

    He gets it, the taxes are already too high here.

    Bishop rents his home.

    He doesn’t have a clue what the taxes are in Spring Grove.

  19. A good question is Donald Regnier receiving a Spring Grove Police pension while employed as Spring Grove Village President.

    You will only be able to figure that out if he tells you or if you submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the information.

    The reason he would be able to do so is they are two separate Pension Funds.

    Spring Grove Police pension is a Downstate Police Pension Fund which is Article 3 in the Illinois Pension Code.

    Spring Grove Village President pension is Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) which is Article 7 in the Illinois Pension Code.

    The Illinois General Assembly and Governors wrecked the Illinois Pension Code.

    It needs a complete overhaul and repeal the sentence in the Illinois State Constitution about pensions that was added in 1970.

    We are going to have a continuous crisis in Illinois until that is done.

    Constitution of the State of Illinois
    Adopted at special election on December 15, 1970

    Article XIII – General Provisions

    Section 5. Pension and Retirement Rights

    Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

    That sentence must be repealed via a constitutional amendment.

    That sentence allowed games to be played in 18 pension funds in the Illinois Pension code for political gain and that wrecked state and local finances all over the state.

    What else can be done.

    Freeze pay until pensions are fully funded.

    Not fair to the new employees but the legislative pension and retiree healthcare hikes were not fair to taxpayers.

    Or just live with hiked property and income taxes and reduced services and buy into the argument that if you don’t pay the public sector workers whatever they want that you don’t appreciate them.

    Quinn was only able to make it through office because he issued a lot of pension obligation bonds and bonds to fund public works projects and hiked income taxes.

    That was the Quinn plan.

    Now Quinn is gone and in the future those pension obligation bonds and bonds to fund road construction and such must be repaid.

    Right now there is no plan to get us out of this mess only ideas.

  20. Powell still lives with his parents?

    And he’s a Gasser minion?

    Birds of a feather…

  21. He’s in college bilbo(idiot).

    What college student owns their own home?

    Get a clue!

  22. So, Miss. Uppity – Why would a village of over 4000 residents of Spring Grove Incorporated (eligible voters) want to vote for a college student who doesn’t pay taxes?

    What are Powell’s aspirations and goals?

    It’s a 4 year term.

    What’s he going to be doing in 4 more years?

    It is so easy to put a sign up around town with “No-Tax” without any substance behind it.

    Bilbo – I agree – Gasser?

    What has he done for Spring Grove?

    NOTHING except help get Powell’s signs put up all around town.

    Powell has offered nothing to the residents that indicates he’s a qualified candidate and can serve the Tax Paying residents of Spring Grove.

    How come Powell has not offered up any comments on this sight?

    Isn’t he is backed by this sight?

    Powell couldn’t even answer all the questions that the NW Herald asked of all the candidates.

    The ones he did answer provided no substance or intelligence at all.

    Powell has contributed nothing to Spring Grove, can not and will not whether the referendum passes or not.

    He’s just a wanna be politician that the residents of Spring Grove do not need or want.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.