Protecting Homes Before Studios
I have been wanting to weigh in on the Governor's education proposal, but I figured that it has been getting enough coverage and discussion as is. But before I get back to other work however, I do want to touch on one aspect of this issue.
Over the past couple of days, many of my constituents have been receiving reassessment notices for their homes. And three years after getting increases of 40-100%, they are once again getting increases of...40-100%. Same home, same neighborhood, absurd taxes. By example, when we moved into our home about nine years ago, the property taxes were about $3800. With the latest reassessment, we will be looking at a tax bill of about $20,000.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that while about half of our tax bill goes to the Chicago Board of Education, the public school two blocks from my house is one of the worst-performing in the area, graduating just 8 kids last year. What's wrong with this picture? A lot.
The point of this is that while the Governor proposes to pump billions more into our school system, and while he aggressively worked to give tax relief to film producers who shoot in Illinois, many of his neighbors are being faced with having to sell their homes because of our overreliance on property taxes in the funding of school. His proposal does nothing to address this issue, although in his defense I guess, he never claimed that it did.
But this issue has been around long before the near ten years ago since I joined the General Assembly, and long before my predecessor, the Governor, joined the House before that. It has not gone away, nor will it, until something is done to address it head on. Given the propensity of elected officials to think in terms of election cycles rather than real world timeframes, I am dubious that any meaningful reforms are on the horizon.
The exception to this would be the convening of a Constitutional Convention a couple of years from now, something which I think would be in the best interest of the State on a number of fronts.
There is arguably no more pressing issue in my area than that of property taxes, and I believe that I echo the thoughts of a number of my surrounding colleagues in saying that, given this fact as well as the numerous other questions surrounding the proposal, it will be exceedingly difficult (impossible?) to get many of us to support this measure. Couple that with the reported upon concerns of Downstate Democrats about the proposal, and this is looking a lot like a non-starter.
I will be keeping tabs here, but may not post for the next week, but thanks as always for checking in.