Property tax freeze a good start but not enough, House hopeful says
Katie Miller sees a terrible selfishness in a recently circulated memorandum opposing a township property tax freeze proposed in Springfield.
“They are only looking out for themselves,” Miller, a Republican running to replace retiring Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) in the 53rd District, told the North Cook News. “They need to budget and make spending cuts. Our property taxes are too high.”
The 53rd District covers Prospect Heights and Mt. Prospect,.
Bryan Smith, executive director of Township Officials of Illinois, sent out the memo urging officials to oppose a bill to freeze property taxes in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties. The measure, Senate Bill 851, has been amended in the House and could be taken up by both chambers soon.
“In the Chicagoland area, I don’t think that we need townships,” Miller said. “It adds on another layer of government that can be done on the village, town or county level. In some of the more rural areas of Illinois, towns are very small and there is not a need for a township level.”
Illinois has approximately 7,000 units of local government funded by property taxes. which Miller finds unacceptable. Smith argued in his message that municipal governments would be badly hurt by a two-year freeze.
“This would mean for those townships/road districts in those counties, this year and next year your extension limitation would be 0 percent unless voters approve an increase," he said.
Miller, in fact, argues it doesn't go far enough.
“A property tax freeze is a start, but more could be done,” Miller said. “Lawmakers can work for a law to make 1 percent hard cap on property taxes. It has been done successfully in other parts of the country, so we can do it here.”
The property tax freeze proposal and opposition should be made public, according to the candidate.
“We are losing the property values of our homes while our property taxes are skyrocketing,” Miller said. “Arlington Heights home values have decreased by 19.5 percent, Mt. Prospect by 34.1 percent, Prospect Heights by 36.1 percent and Des Plaines by 42 percent.”