As part of his long-standing efforts to reduce the tax burden on middle-class families, State Representative Jack Franks, D-Marengo, introduced legislation on Wednesday that would freeze property tax levies across Illinois for two years, while creating a path to reform Illinois’ outdated school funding formula.
“Soaring property taxes are the primary complaint that I hear from constituents,” Franks said. “Regardless of the fact that home prices were falling or stagnant for more than half a decade, local governments have continued to demand more each and every year from the pockets of hard-working families.”
According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the country, behind only New Jersey. Franks’ House Bill 4263 puts all taxing districts throughout the state under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for two years and freezes tax levies unless increases are directly approved by voters in a referendum during that time.
Given the connection between property tax levels and school funding provided by the state, Franks’ wants to simultaneously bring attention to the need to update and improve the way schools are funded. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, property taxes provide school districts in Illinois with more than half of their revenue. The total amount collected varies depending on the amount of taxable property and the value of homes in a district, resulting in wide disparities in levels of taxation and the quality of education provided to students. Franks proposes creating a committee of stakeholders, which will serve without compensation and will be expected to propose a new funding formula to the General Assembly by July 1, 2016 that provides for the equitable, transparent and accountable distribution of state education funds.
“Local students are the first to suffer when high property taxes chase residents and businesses out,” Franks added. “We clearly need to change how we finance public education in Illinois, while working to ensure that the burden on middle-class families does not go up.”
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION WILL HOST A PUBLIC HEARING ON AUGUST 5 ON A PROPOSAL TO BUILD A MODERN ROUNDABOUT AT ROUTE 20 AND HARMONY ROAD IN MCHENRY COUNTY. THIS PUBLIC MEETING WILL BE IN AN OPEN-HOUSE FORMAT TAKING PLACE AT LEGGEE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ON HARMONY ROAD IN HUNTLEY FROM 4PM TO 7PM. THE PURPOSE OF THE MEETING IS TO RECEIVE PUBLIC INPUT ON THE PROJECT'S NEW PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE, WHICH AVOIDS THE FORMER HARMONY SCHOOL PROPERTY. THE PROJECT CURRENTLY IS ON I-DOT'S 2016-21 PROPOSED HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM WITH A CONTRACT LETTING TENTATIVELY TARGETED FOR THE EARLY YEARS OF THE PROGRAM.