Wirepoints Comments on Newly-Created 708 Mental Health Boards

From Wirepoints;

‘708’ mental health taxing boards: Are Illinois voters schizoid or just depressed?

By: Mark Glennon*

Why would anybody in Illinois vote to create a new taxing authority to add to property tax bills?

With property taxes being the second highest among the states and with polls consistently saying they are a top voter concern, you wouldn’t think such a thing could pass in a referendum anywhere the state.

But many Illinois townships and counties vote to do just that, creating what are called “708 boards.”

The boards are specifically empaneled to address local mental health needs and can only be created by local voter referendums.

Some 90 of them now exist, according to a group called Advocate for 708. Proponents say they help fill gaps in available mental health services.

Panel members are appointed by township or county boards, which also approve grants.

The 708 boards are taxing jurisdictions with their own power to levy a local property tax of up to 0.15% of assessed value. The cap is set by state law.

That’s typically a small amount for an average homeowner, supporters say – “less than the price of a weekly cup of coffee ($1.85),” according to Advocate for 708.

Illinois, however, is already notorious for the number of different units of government it has – 8,923 by one count – far more than any other state.

A new 708 panel means another line item on property tax bills.

That leads fiscal conservatives to ask why voters should approve another taxing body and why mental health services shouldn’t be handled by existing units of government.

Dan Patlak in 2012.

One such critic of 708 panels is Dan Patlak, formerly a Wheeling Township assessor and commissioner at the Cook County Board of Review.

If people decide that mental healthcare is important, that’s fine, Patlak told me, but the federal government spends hundreds of billions on healthcare, and state and local governments spend hundreds of millions, he said.

Isn’t this a matter of getting those units of government properly directed rather than creating more bureaucracy?

Patlak and other critics are particularly concerned about spending creep that we too often see in government.

The state could easily increase that 0.15% cap on 708 taxing power.

When put to local vote, however, 708 proposals often win.

In November 2022 alone, voters in Will County, as well as in Addison, Lisle, Naperville, Schaumburg and Wheeling townships, approved 708 panels. In this month’s election, however, proposals were defeated in Thornton and Wayne Townships.

So, when it comes to mental health and property taxes, are Illinois voters a bit, well, schizoid?

Maybe votes for 708 panels merely reflect how strongly people feel that we have a mental health crisis.

That’s understandable.

Those problems are particularly common among young people.

Or maybe it’s because of widespread recognition that Illinois spends too little on the developmentally disabled, who are among those who 708 panels try to help.

More support for the developmentally disabled has long had bipartisan support in Illinois.

In January, Republicans and Democrats alike pushed back hard against budget cuts proposed by Gov. JB Pritzker to services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled community.

They won, at least temporarily, with Pritzker agreeing to pause the cuts.

Still, it says something sad when voters have no confidence that the bureaucracies in place will respond to their needs.

The better solution obviously would be for existing health authorities to do their job, but they won’t, voters apparently conclude.

In other words, maybe it’s not schizophrenia causing Illinois voters to layer another taxing authority on themselves for mental health services.

Maybe it’s more like depression – about how detached and unresponsive their government has become.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.


Wirepoints Comments on Newly-Created 708 Mental Health Boards — 8 Comments

  1. The new sovietish ‘mental health boards’ will surely strip parents of their right to prevent yhe gelding of their boys and the double mastectomies of their preteen daughters.

    The boards will also interfere with parental rights as to the religious education of their kids, except jewish kids.

    The boards will also determine if certain beliefs are the result of various conspiracy theories, anti-semitism, white privilege, etc.

    The boards will also determine who can own firearms, property, certain books, vax passports, work papers, vetting of required ‘democratic principles’, etc.

    The boards will also determine sentences for thought crimes, hate crimes, hate speech, etc.

    Can you fools not see where this is all heading?

  2. The Woke Mind Virus is real.

    Trump Derangement Syndrome is real.

    Mass Formation Psychoses is real.

  3. LOFL Gasser.

    The 20-term precinct committeeman is smarter than all of us.

    Right Monk?

    I believe Gasser has your diagnosis dead to rights.

    In shorthand you’re a sheep.

  4. Adding new layers of government bureaucracy and payrolls(which is the ultimate goal of anyone in government service here) is nothing new, and hyperbole over it is just that.

  5. schizoid or depressed?

    More like:

    manufactured whackos
    coerced into rainbowland

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