Dunlop village trustee weighs in on property tax freeze debate
Sheila Taylor brings a unique perspective to the debate over opposition by township governments to a proposed state bill on freezing property taxes.
“As a property owner who pays property taxes and as a government official seeking to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer monies, I don't believe a property tax freeze addresses the real problem,” Taylor, a Dunlop village trustee, told the Peoria Standard. “Abolishment of township governments would mean other units of government would need to absorb the responsibility for that infrastructure.”
In its current, House-amended form, Senate Bill 851 would establish a two-year property tax freeze for Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties. Passage of the bill would mandate that those counties are only allowed to increase property taxes with voter approval.
Under the proposal, all other counties would be subject to referendums asking whether a property tax freeze should be imposed for 2018 and 2019 or that all governments within a county jurisdiction be subject to a property tax freeze over that period and to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for levy year 2020 and the foreseeable future.
The legislation was not brought up for a vote in the Senate before the veto session ended.
“Lawmakers should approach the opposition (to the freeze) as in any situation, hear the arguments and work to employ a workable solution in the best interests of all,” Taylor said. “There is certainly redundancy in the structure of local government in Illinois and consolidation of services could result in significant savings for taxpayers.”
Regarding SB851, Bryan Smith, the executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, had sent a legislative alert to township officials asking them to urge their state lawmakers to oppose the measure.
Taylor said taxpayers would be wise to invest the same level of interest.
“Any time there is an issue affecting taxes paid and services provided, voters should take notice,” she said. “As long as there is not a property tax increase, the status quo effect on local economies is arguable. However, it seems logical that a reduction in the tax burden on taxpayers may result in greater disposable income that is available to be spent stimulating local economies.”