Bad Math at the Chicago Tribune and Northwest Herald

The Sunday before last, the Chicago Tribune’s main editorial had an error regarding the McHenry County tax levy cut this year.

This Chicago Tribune editorial incorrectly says that McHenry County government’s levy was cut 11.2% this year.  See the fourth column.

Here is the paragraph in the editorial about McHenry County:

The Chicago Tribune editorial paragraph which reports falsely that McHenry County cut its tax levy by 11.2 percent.

Did the Tribune depend upon a press release from Jack Franks?

Did the Tribune believe that the March referendum quesation starting that McHenry County government cut its tax levy by 11.2% was correct?

This referendum question falsely states that the county tax levy decrease “11.2 percent.”

Did the Tribune editorial writers rely upon reporting by the Northwest Herald, which still says, without checking the facts, that the tax levy decreased 11.2 percent.

In last Friday’s email from the “News you can trust” Northwest Herald in a piece entitled, “Jack Franks talks budget,” reporter Ed Komenda quotes Franks thusly:

“We cut 11.2 percent last year,” he told the Northwest Herald.

Put accurately, that is a false statement.

Don’t just believe my assertion.

Do the research yourself.

Here is the 2016 tax levy document for tax bills collected in 2017:

The tax levy is at the bottom of the fourth column–$79,424,610.97).

Next, the official tax levy document from the McHenry County Clerk’s Office for the tax bills paid this year:

The tax levy is at the bottom of the fourth column-($71,839,750.75.

The  Tribune Editorial says McHenry County cut its tax levy by by 11.2%.

Not true, regardless of what Jack Franks says.

The tax levy was down 9.55%

Not 11.2%.

Above are the official documents for the taxes levied the year before last ($79,424,610.97) and last year ($71,839,750.75), the year Franks claims cut was 11.2%.

Jack Franks

The cut was $7,584,750.75.

Divide that by $79,424,610.97 and one sees the cut was 9.55%.

Not 11.2% that Jack Franks continually claims.

Repeating a falsehood, even putting it on the ballot does not make it a truth.

The source documents are from the McHenry County Clerk’s web site:

= = = = =
The explanation above has been sent to the Chicago Tribune and two Northwest Herald Editors–Jon Styl and Hannah Prokop. It will be interesting to see if the false 11.2% tax cut assertion appears again.


Bad Math at the Chicago Tribune and Northwest Herald — 10 Comments

  1. That’s one of your best pictures of Jack.

    You should use it more often.

  2. The “Tax Reduction” from last year will have to go back up this year as almost all of it was due to “one offs” that will not be repeatable.

    The Valley Hi levy, for example, will need to be reinstated to avoid losing it.

    The department heads’ budgets do not show the decreases from last year as those saving have already been made

    The reduction in the size of the Board also is a sham as only the Board that sits in 2021 can do that.

  3. At least Cal is reporting that Franks cut taxes. It must be very painful for him to have to admit that Franks did something all the Republicans couldn’t do.

  4. Actually, under Mike Walkup’s leadership the tax levy was cut 4% the year before the County Board Chairman election.

    It is a shame Franks can’t tell the truth about the size of the cut.

  5. Just in:

    Chairman Franks is now announcing that there will be a 3.8% further abatement this year and is claiming that the total for the past two years will be 15%.

  6. Tribune Editorial said that per a 2010 Indiana law, Indiana property owners pay 1 percent of their home’s value as real estate taxes. Here in McHenry County it is 3 percent, 4 percent or higher. What we need here in McHenry County and Illinois is a similar law with a timetable for implementation. The first 3 years of the law would cut property taxes to two percent of home value. Then, after 3 years it would drop to 1 percent of home value. This law would force government to drastically streamline their operations, consolidate and eliminate jobs and positions, reduce lavish salaries and benefits (haircuts for all) of government workers including school administrators and teachers, remove colas from pensions, put a cap on all pension amounts.

  7. That’s what Proposition did in California.

    It was a constitutional amendment.

    My father subsequently got “PROP 13” on his license plate.

  8. You can’t streamline enough because of the pension problem.

    If you did make it 1% you would have to make sales tax close to 20-25%.

  9. To repeat, the reason that property taxes are so high is that the state has failed in it’s obligation to pay for the majority of the costs of education.

    The state aid formula also heavily favors poorer school districts so that suburban districts get very little.

    This has caused local school districts to hike property taxes to make up the difference.

    Teachers and administrators and spouses of same have been employing the tactic of running for school boards themselves and hiking teacher and administrator salaries and benefits.

    Teachers go on strike right before school is to start in the Fall causing parents who are losing the free child care to freak out and flood the school board meetings.

    Efficiencies have not been adopted as evidenced by Crystal Lake’s “Bleachergate”.

    All of this happens because taxpayers are not watching the schools and instead have their attentions diverted to county government which only collects the levies enacted by other taxing bodies but whose name is on the tax bills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *