Property Tax ‘Freeze” Inches Forward in Illinois House

Northern Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky, weighs in on our property tax dilemma.

Politicians say one of the most common complaints they hear is about high property taxes.State of Illinois Rotunda

A measure that would put a hold on them is inching forward in the Illinois House, but whether the measure ever will become law is uncertain.  Freezing property taxes was one of the promises Gov. Bruce Rauner made on the campaign trail.

Article by Amanda Vinicky, WNIU , Northern Public Radio May 18, 2015, State of Illinois Photo Rotunda

But it wasn’t his plan that got called for a vote, leading Rauner’s fellow Republicans once again to accuse Democrats of pulling a political stunt intended to embarrass the governor.

Wheaton Republican Jeanne Ives called Friday’s measure a “sham” that doesn’t go as far as the reforms suggested by Rauner.

“We need to talk about right-sizing government. We need to talk about cost controls,” she said. “But all you want to do is put up a bill and you can’t even guarantee, you cannot guarantee, that you’re going to freeze my property taxes.”

The measure wouldn’t freeze individual homeowners’ bills; rather it would keep municipal governments from bringing in additional revenue without voters’ approval.

The proposal would require voter approval for local governments to collect more tax revenue than the year before.

The vote was 37 to 23 in favor of an amendment to the bill, wth 38 voting “present.” Many Republicans were in the latter group.

The governor’s budget slashes in half the money cities get from the state, leaving some Democrats — like Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook — to vote no. She says it will hamstring local officials.

“And, despite all the rhetoric on this floor about local control, local control, local control, this is what we’re debating today,” she said. “Those individuals are elected to do their job; we need to give them the tools to do their job the best way that they can.”

It’s one of a series of votes House Democrats are taking on Rauner’s proposals because the governor hasn’t introduced his own measures, and Democrats want to put the GOP on the spot.

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