The Illinois House will hold hearings today on a Democrat-sponsored bill to freeze real estate taxes. The bill, (HB 690) is sponsored by Jack Franks (D, Marengo).
Without getting too much into the weeds of the bill, the thing to take away from this is that Franks’ bill may freeze property taxes, but contains no relief to counties and municipalities strapped with increasing costs.
The tax freeze bill sponsored by Governor Rauner, which never made it out the Senate committee where it was sent to die, contained provisions allowing local governments to ignore the state’s prevailing wage act on public works projects and to refuse to collectively bargain with public employee unions on some issues. This was done to provide some breathing room to local governments affected by the freeze.
Franks’ bill contains no such provisions. When asked, he said, “I don’t think you can combine both things on one bill.”
Ironically, the Senate is sitting today as a “committee of the whole”, and Senator Andy Manar (D, Bunker Hill) has no such reservations about discussing tax freezes in the context of their impact on local bodies. Manar is insisting that any tax freeze be combined with a resolution of the problem of school funding.
As I mentioned in a previous post, prevailing wage laws are nothing more than unions practicing crony capitalism. They tell a bought-and-paid-for General Assembly to tell localities how much to pay workers on public works projects. If the locality refuses, the Department of Labor will impose the prevailing wage upon them. Localities become nothing more than a rubber stamp for the unions.
We don’t need a property tax freeze, we need property tax reform. But that will only happen in the context of a discussion of who’s going to pay for what in this State.
When the value of your house plummets and your property taxes don’t go down as a result, it’s clear that you don’t own your house, you’re just renting it from the government. Any bill that merely freezes taxes is nothing more than the landlord forbearing to raise the rent.