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McSweeney tax relief bill clears committee

SPRINGFIELD — A one-year freeze on township tax levies is on its way to the full Illinois House.

House Bill 5311, sponsored by Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, seeks a 2015 freeze of the general fund levy for townships with fewer than 100,000 people and are subject to the tax cap. All 17 of McHenry County's townships fall into that category.

The bill cleared the House Counties and Townships Committee on a 4-1 vote Thursday.

"Every day we hear more and more talk from Springfield about raising this tax or that tax. With the movement of this bill, we can finally tell our constituents that there is a real tax relief proposal on the horizon," McSweeney said in a statement.

Investigations in recent years, including a 2008 study by Roosevelt University and a 2011 investigation by the Better Government Association have revealed that many township governments have accumulated hefty cash reserves, in many cases more than a year.

Bills in recent years aimed at capping governments' ability to raise property taxes in a down economy while housing prices fall have stalled. Northwest Herald stories have revealed that local government lobbying groups whose dues are paid by your property taxes have fought tax relief measures.

You can read the bill at www.ilga.gov.

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