Continuing coverage of the League of Women Voters Candidates’ Night for those seeking State Senate seat looking at answers to the question of whether property taxes should be capped or reduced and “how do you propose to help schools and libraries–two entities that rely heavily on property taxes–obtain necessary levels of funding to serve their communities.”
And the candidates had a minute to answer the question
My notes are below:
Republican Craig Wilcox – said that a cap was not good enough, that “we need to reduce taxes.” He said Springfield should not set out a new set of rules without figuring out the consequences and pointed to schools and other tax districts who had taken s much as PTELL [the tax cap] had allowed to increase their levies. With increase school aid from state government, local school districts should “provide some relief.”
- Democrat Mary Mahady – pointed out 70% goes to schools, that “need to get more funding fro the state. She objected to “calling for a property tax freeze. Need to talk about the levy.” She favored getting”more people to pay their fair share.”
Republican Don DeWitte – started out pointing to California’s Proposition 13 [which limited real estate taxes to 1% of the value of one’s property]. He told of looking at his tax bill and finding twenty-two entities. “We need to continue to merge entities,” pointing to how the the East and West Dundee Fire Protection Districts had been combined. “Townships and municipalities need to continue to merge.”
- Democrat Nancy Zettler – pointed to school funding, to making the state pay its “constitutionally funded share.” [This has been litigated decades ago and the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that that part of the Constitution is hortatory.] She said if that part of the Constitution were enforced the 70-74% of the real estate tax bill would go down to 49%. “Libraries are valuable. The state can pay more.”
- Republican Dan McConchie – mentioned his bill to allow citizens to lower real estates taxes by referendum, pointed to educational funding reform passed last year. He gave the amount spent per student in North Chicago versus neighboring Roundout, which is able to spend a vast amount more. “In the last three years, state aid is up about $1 billion. Illinois is no longer the last in the nation with regard to state support. We need to look at consolidation, including school districts,” he said, pointing to elementary and high school districts becoming unit districts.
- Democrat Tom Georges – “can cap property taxes” was my first note. Doesn’t think referendums to reduce property taxes would be appropriate. That would “take away local authority from the local boards. Favored looking at resources, such as solar power.