Tribune Editorial Board Notices Government Consolidation Issue Bob Anderson Is Pushing

Embedded in a Monday Chicago Tribune Editorial a couple of weeks ago about Cook County businesses being outraged at increases in their property tax assessments is a sentence mentioning the fact that Illinois has more local governments than any other state:

In my luncheon with Wonder Lake government consolidation advocate Bob Anderson, I learned one of his goal is to have newspaper editorial boards ask legislative candidates their position on the issue.

Bob Anderson’s latest poster.

It appears the Chicago Tribune might be receptive.


Tribune Editorial Board Notices Government Consolidation Issue Bob Anderson Is Pushing — 12 Comments

  1. His chart is bogus. If you do comparisons of states, use the stats from ALL states for an accurate comparison.

    How do you use a BLUE state vs. a RED state?

    That’s just the starters.

    15 minutes of fame for Anderson.

  2. The main reason that property taxes are so high in Illinois is that there is an inadequate state income tax and it is not graduated.

    This causes the state to hold back on funding for schools which it should be giving under the state constitution. (“The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.” Article 10 Section 1A, 1970).

    Other states which have a more balanced tax mix have much lower property taxes.

    Admittedly, the state has done a poor job in spending over the years and gave far too many pension perks out to unions and state workers. However, that horse has left the barn.

    I agree that townships, for example, are unnecessary but eliminating all townships would only save about .5% off of the property tax bill. (2002 Cook County study showed that eliminating townships in Cook County would save 50% of current costs which are about 1% of the property tax bill).

    At least a graduated income tax would be fair in terms of taxpayers’ current incomes, which a property tax may not. It is a regressive tax. Even renters pay the property tax in terms of increased rents.

    So eliminating some of the ridiculous number of taxing bodies would help but the schools, which account for two thirds of the property tax bill, are still out there and still being forced to come up with missing revenue in the form of property taxes which is their only option.

  3. A. Nonny Moose, nothing bogus about Anderson’s chart, only using a large state like Texas, which is bigger than Florida.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson has all states, and a drill-down on a website to compare Illinois to other states.

    An additional row Anderson could add, is the comparisons to the number of counties.

    Illinois has 102, Texas has 254

    And all Texas counties are governed by a 5-person commissioner’s court under the leadership of an elected county judge.

    No 18 to 24 member bounty boards, just a 4×1 commissioners court, with 4 commissioners elected from single-member districts, and the county judge elected at-large.

    Even larger counties like Harris (Houston), Dallas and Bexar (San Antonio) are governed by a 5-member commissioners court, not a county board.

    Looking over my wife’s and my Texas property tax bill due by end of January. Only 3 government units (our acreage outside of town) on the bill: school district, county and hospital district.

  4. BecauseScience, we’ve already been down the primrose path of a graduated income tax constitutional amendment and voters flatly rejected it, utterly last November.

    Don’t need a graduated income tax if voters would finally do what we’re supposed to do, and vote in school board elections like kids’ education depended on it.

    But look at the voter turnout just this passed April 6. D300 didn’t get 10% voter turnout, and most school districts around here saw similar, if not worst turnout last April.

    Yes, there were some spirited school board elections this year, but in most, the establishment teacher’s union-backed candidates swept the three to four seats up for election, like in D300 and D158.

    D220 had a spirited, well organized opposition to teachers union-backed slate, and even there, voters returned a split decision.

    Until voters reestablish real local control to their school boards, and that comes with measurable participation at school board elections, no way will I vote for a graduated income tax amendment.

    Other steps already in place for real local control of school boards by weakening power of teacher’s unions, like the Janus decision, mandating public sector union membership is voluntary without retaliation.

    But next year’s constitutional amendment, while on the surface to protect Illinois being a right-to-work state, is meant to give public sector unions real power thru the state constitution and is why it must be defeated.

  5. John: I mostly agree with you. I know the voters rejected the graduated tax but that is in part because “conservatives” opposed it and mounted a campaign against it.

    I think it would be very useful exercise to look at all of the 50 states in terms of the percentage of state funding for education vs property tax rates and also what the tax mix is in those states (income tax, motor fuel tax, sales tax, etc). You would also have to consider overall population and degree of urbanization as that drives up infrastructure costs and cost of living.

    I also agree on the need to focus on school board races, which are consolidated with municipal and other, mostly non partisan races. However, turnout is the key, as you pointed out, and unless you can more tax conscious people to show up, the unions and parent groups who have actual skin in the game will always have the advantage.

    This year also featured issues over mask wearing and “critical race theory” which I think worked against conservative candidates. People don’t want to see their school boards taken over by culture war crazies. Book burnings will follow.

    One of the hardest things to do in politics, however, is to get people to vote in an election they don’t normally vote in. You have to have a really large and really well organized GOTV effort aimed at Republican primary voters and some way to drag them out of their homes by their shoelaces on election day or before.

    This requires more than just having the candidates run around putting up their own signs and maybe doing a mailing.

    This should be a job for GOP Precinct Committeemen but we all know that very few of them do any work even in a partisan election cycle.

  6. So this is what you do.

    First of all you get a voter list and sort it by GOP primary voters and further sort that by those that do and those that do not vote in Consolidated elections.

    You do a general mailing to all of the GOP primary voters.

    Then you no longer worry about those who vote in CE’s and just go after those who do not.

    You need a couple of additional mailings to the latter.

    The local PC also needs to personally visit those people.

    People who were not home on the first pass need to be attempted again.

    Repeat until you have personally spoken with at least one voter in about 90% of those households.

    This usually takes 4 passes through the precinct, with each one being shorter as the list shortens.

    Then you need to hang door hangers on all of those houses the night before the election and also do phone calling.

    On the day of the election you need to have someone in the polling place with poll watcher credentials who checks off the name of each voter as they vote and compares that with their list of GOP primary voters.

    At 3 PM the poll watcher gives the list to the PC who goes around to each house that did not vote and rings their doorbell and leaves a note if no one answers.

    Then more phone calls to those houses.

    Repeat at 6 PM to 7 PM. Offer to drive reluctant voters to the poll in your van if they say they don’t have transport.

    This is a little different in the age of mail in and early voting but the reluctant voters probably won’t take advantage of those methods anyway so the old school method is still good.

    Thats’ how you do it.

    It’s work, but it works.

    If you are not personally willing to do this, stop complaining about your property taxes.

  7. BecauseScience, if you want to make the argument that Illinois doesn’t collect enough revenue do have numbers for the following

    -How much money the state collects per capita vs other states
    -How much money per capita as a % of median income does Illinois collect vs other states

    Those might be helpful measures to determine whether or not Illinois is collecting enough income or not.

    Do we rank near the bottom of the list? Because I’m pretty sure our property taxes are fairly high compared to other states. If we rank near the worst for property taxes then you might expect the state to not collect as much via income, sales, and other taxes/fees. But is that true? If you have figures for those bullet points I posted above, please share. If however we are a state that has high property taxes AND the state ranks in the middle or towards the top in terms of how much it collects and spends, then there is a problem. Usually it’s a give and take. Some states have high property taxes but low or no income tax or sales tax or vice versa. Most the articles I’ve seen indicate that Illinois is just a bad place when you consider the totality of taxes. So why would people want to give them more money? Nobody believes their property taxes will go down if they give the state more money. Illinoisans are cynical about their government and rightly so.

    I don’t believe Illinois voters necessarily rejected the progressive income tax because they are opposed to it in principle or theory but because

    1. The state doesn’t appear serious about getting spending under control and we didn’t want to give them a blank check.

    2. The state’s leaders are irresponsible, corrupt, and untrustworthy.

    3. Following point 2, they don’t trust that these politicians would only apply the tax rates to high income people. Put another way, while a progressive income tax might start out as only affecting people making a quarter million, voters think in short time those higher rates would be applying to lower brackets. A progressive tax would have opened up pandora’s box.

    4. This is to a lesser extent, but there was some fear of brain drain/professional drain/business drain by raising taxes. This would be a compelling argument to Republicans and Libertarians, but we know the defeat of the proposal was due to more than just people thinking about lawyers, doctors, and businesses. Obviously lower and middle income people were a bit spooked too.

    If Illinois politicians were more responsible, perhaps the progressive income tax would have passed.

    However, if Illinois politicians were more responsible, we wouldn’t be having this conversation about trying to bilk people out of more money to begin with…

    But it’s definitely a center-left state.

    It’s not that people reject it in principle (I know many people on this blog do, but statewide I don’t believe that is the case given the politics of this state) but its definitive rejection at the polls last year is more of a reflection on how much we distrust Springfield.

    So I don’t view it as a philosophical win for the trickle down people or the low tax tax crowd per se, but more of a referendum on Illinois’ financial management in general.

    People don’t want to give more money to an incompetent handler.

    That’s just my interpretation though and know many on this blog disagree with that reading.

  8. Correcting:

    You won’t get any argument from me that Illinois has been an incompetent handler of money going back several decades.

    However, if you actually want to DO something about property taxes instead of just talking about them, you have to get more state revenues into the school districts.

    You also have to elect more cost conscious school board members who aren’t conflicted by being married to school teachers, administrators etc, and may be such themselves in some cases.

    In doing the latter, however, you have to somehow avoid culture warrior book burners which I think is impossible in the present fake news driven conspiracy loving conservative climate.

    I would rather see teacher union school board members than raging right wing nuts, and that’s all that’s left in today’s GOP, as the comments on this blog well illustrate.

  9. New Jersey has far fewer units of gov than IL yet pays higher property tax and total taxation than IL.

    There is no direct correlation to spending and number of units of gov.

    IMO only school buildings budgets should be on property taxes, educational budget should be paid by income taxes, state or even a county wide income tax?

    Flat tax no deductions, earn a dollar and x part of it goes to all gov services.

  10. The job is Bobby Miller. Excuse me, Booby Miller.

    Because Science, isn’t it time you quit trolling in mom’s basement and get a real job?

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