Governor Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax which he calls a “fair tax” is deception at a level which is even horrible by Illinois corrupt standards. Under his proposed rates the average person would get a very modest tax decrease. Only one problem, there is nothing to stop the tax and spend politicians in Springfield from raising the rates the next year. One reason Illinois is in such bad shape is the 3% increase in state pensions each year guaranteed by the Illinois Constitution. Unless the Governor’s income tax proposal is coupled with a change in the Illinois Constitution eliminating the guaranteed pension increases each year and changing state retirement benefits in Illinois, no income tax changes should be approved by the voters in Illinois. To make matters worse, the Governor does not address the high real estate taxes paid by residents of this state. In the long run his “fair tax” is just another Illinois gimmick to fund state government and its guaranteed pensions on the backs of the few remaining workers in the private sector. Illinois has one of the highest outward migrations of its citizens in the nation, and passage of the fair tax without other reforms will just accelerate this outward migration. After this punishing winter in Illinois, it’s nice to know that the politicians in Springfield will now start the financial punishment of its citizens.
At the Freeport, Illinois, City Council Meeting on September 19, 2016, the Council approved the City Engineer’s use of City equipment for construction purposes for the Forrestville Valley School District. Of course, the City Engineer said the School District would reimburse the City for the equipment use. The precedent has been set for City employees to use City equipment in off duty hours as long as they pay rent for the equipment! Alderpersons Chesney and Miller voted against renting out City equipment and employees, but the rest of the alderpersons had no problem with this new policy. I guess this means that our taxes will be lowered in Freeport as a result of all this new rental income. Perhaps, Freeport can teach the State of Illinois a lesson. The state can rent out equipment, employees, and buildings to reduce the deficit. With all of that new income, the State will actually be able to lower taxes.
Certain alderpersons on the present Freeport City Council have consistently supported more spending and higher taxes. This group is led by Tom Klemm, Sally Brashaw, and Mike Koester who have not seen a tax increase or higher spending that they did not feel was necessary. I for one agree with Alderman Chesney – WE ARE TAXED ENOUGH. For those who feel they are undertaxed, they are free to copy the above form and make an additional contribution to the City of Freeport. I hope everyone sends Klemm, Brashaw, and Koester a copy of the form. As the expression goes, put your money where your mouth is!
The mayor of Freeport and certain council members have stated in the past that Freeport’s share of the real estate tax bills for residents of the city is less than 10% of the total bill. There are council members who believe that the citizens of Freeport have an unlimited ability to pay more taxes in order to pay the pensions for retired public employees. As Paul Harvey used to say – now for the rest of the story. Real estate taxes are not the only source of revenue for the City of Freeport. Freeport taxes everything from taxes on all of your utility bills, cable bills, restaurant meals, and even a transfer tax on the sale of your home. Look at your water bill – there is a capital improvement charge of $16.00 and a storm water charge of $4.00. This is just another tax, but one that has no relationship to actual usage. The water portion of many residential users is less than $10.00, but there is an additional $20.00 tax on your bill.
DON’T TELL THE RESIDENTS OF FREEPORT THAT THEY ARE UNDER TAXED!
The overall tax rate paid by homeowners in the City of Freeport is one of the highest in the State of Illinois. Most of us know why our taxes are so high. There are just too many public sector employees such as firemen and policemen who retire in their early 50’s with large pensions. To top it all off, they then get a minimum increase in their pensions each year of 3%. In 10 years many are making more that they were when working. Of course, many of them retire to a new public sector job in another state such as Florida which has no income tax and lower property taxes.
And to those of you who retired from the private sector and are living on social security, you will receive no increase in 2016. I can assure you of one thing. Your real estate taxes will continue to climb in the City of Freeport as the value of your homes continues to fall.
The Freeport City Council will meet at 6:00 pm on Monday, March 2 in its temporary quarters at 524 W. Stephenson Streeet, 3rd floor. If you have Comcast Cable, go to channel 17 to watch live.
Some items of interest on the agenda:
Proclamation declaring March “Youth Art Month in the City of Freeport” and urging everyone to join in celebrating this event by attending Aspiring Artists Exhibition at the Freeport Art Museum at 121 N. Harlem Avenue, on March 20 at 5:00 pm.
2nd Reading of Ordinance providing for annual rental property registration fees so that enforcement of the ordinance will be paid from the fees generated. See ordinance at http://www.cityoffreeport.org/OrdRes/Proposed%20rpr%20fees.pdf
Mayor Gitz stated in the Journal Standard on March 1, 2015 when talking about Freeport landlords:
“They want you and I to pay for the impact their business has on all of us. Basically, they want
to socialize the cost and privatize the benefit.”
I do hope Mr. Gitz will keep this statement in mind and apply it to other areas of government when he seeks new revenues. Every new TIF district and enterprize zone shifts the tax burden to other small businesses and homeowners. Existing TIF funds are used to benefit districts and not the town at large. If that is not socializing the cost – I don’t know what it is. With that said landlords should be prepared for increasing fees in the future. Have you ever heard of a government program that is run so efficiently that the cost goes down every year?
For the complete agenda go to http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/citygovernment/Agendas/A20150302.pdf
In March of 2014 the voters of Stephenson County soundly rejected a 1% increase in the sales tax on the people of Stephenson County for the benefit of school districts in the county with Freeport School District being the biggest beneficiary of this tax increase. The administrators (some now gone) at Freeport District promoted this tax with the support of some members of the school board who will also soon be gone. Now the Freeport School Board has voted to put the question of raising the sales tax 1% on the ballot again. No wonder our schools are in such bad shape when the administration does not know the meaning of the word “NO.” The administrators in the school district tell us that property taxes will go down. What a joke! Give the Freeport District more money, and they will just spend more. Now what is really sad about this whole mess is that those bureaucrats running the Freeport School District will be out promoting this tax at our expense. We are paying them to destroy this community. They have millions of dollars at their disposal and hundreds of employees to help them promote this tax. Administrators come and go, but taxes once levied are never reduced. There is only one truth in government – give them more money and they will spend it!
The group, Citizens for Saving Freeport City Hall, should be commended for its efforts to save a historic building in Freeport. There is only one problem – it should be done at its expense, and not the taxpayers of Freeport. Spending $4.3 million on this building is not realistic considering this city’s limited resources. This building should be donated to the Citizens for Saving Freeport City Hall, and they can then raise the money privately to rehabilitate the building. We will then find out how important it is to save the building when this group must finance it on its own.