Why throw away your shot at controlling your property taxes?
In three Illinois communities on March 20, 2018 residents will have a chance to tell elected officials they want to maintain control of their property tax bills and any new fees they might be asked to pay.
Here at four dangers you need to be aware of involving Home Rule
1. Property taxes can soar: If elected officials get the power to go around voters, history has shown in many communities property taxes skyrocket. That’s because politicians no longer have to ask for permission to increase taxes, and instead of asking every registered voter in a community, they just have to get approval from a governing board.
2. Fees can proliferate: Not only can property taxes be increased, officials with Home Rule powers can layer on all sorts of fees that residents will have to pay. From sales taxes to real estate transfer taxes, residents could end up paying a lot more.
3. Invitation for trouble: Because property tax caps do not apply, its easy for elected officials to get into projects that end up being a drag on finances. For example, building a stadium might seem like a good idea to elected officials, but if the facility is underutilized community residents will end up paying for the project potentially for decades through taxes and fees. At least if elected officials have to ask voters for permission, there’s a direct check on the power a municipal board has to enter into such agreements.
4. There are no guarantees: Even if elected officials have the best intentions, there’s no way they can guarantee a promise to keep property taxes in check beyond their term in office. Once they have the power to go around voters, they can do what they want.
Home Rule can make it much more expensive to live in a community. Make sure you understand the facts before you go to the polls on Tuesday, March 20.