An editorial in the Journal Standard on April 1, 2014 reflected on Governor Quinn’s proposal to give every property owner a $500 refund on their property taxes. It further stated that the refund is of less value in Stephenson County for the following reason:
“What’s more, a flat refund is of less value in Stephenson County than it is in areas where property taxes are not quite so out of whack.”
Yes, taxes in Stephenson County and in particular Freeport are “out of whack.” In fact that is a nice way to put it. Property tax assessments (based on market values supposedly) in many cases bear no relationship to actual property values. High tax rates and unrealistic property assesments have contributed to to falling property values, population decline, and businesses leaving the area.
What small business owner wants to fight about its assessment every year?
What home owner wants to live in a community where his tax assessment has not fallen along with property values?
Who wants to own property in a community where the tax rate goes up every year with a corresponding increase in your real estate taxes?
The answer is no one. People are tired of fighting. They say nothing, but their actions speak for them. They just leave the area.
Years go, a local Freeport community leader would tell people that if they did not like it in Freeport, they should leave. Will, my friend, they are all gone now. Thank you for your words of wisdom.