Voters in Cary and Fox River Grove will get the same opportunity as Lakewood voters to tell their elected officials via the ballot box that they’re tired of their already-high property taxes increasing each year.
Both villages will have nonbinding referendums on the Nov. 8 ballot asking whether any taxing bodies within their corporate limits should be required to seek voter approval by referendum if they want to increase their levies. Under the tax cap law, governments do not have to go to referendum to raise taxes within the annual rate of inflation as defined by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
As with Lakewood’s initiative, this one also was led by a local elected official. While the referendums have no legal weight, McHenry County Board member and Algonquin Township Republican Central Committee Chairman Andrew Gasser said he is hopeful that the resounding margins by which he said they will surely pass will send a message.
“I believe that the people are sick and tired of the politically correct answers as to why our taxes are so high,” said Gasser, R-Fox River Grove.
A number of studies and analyses back up complaints by Gasser and others regarding how high McHenry County’s property tax bills can be.
The nonpartisan Tax Foundation puts McHenry County’s property tax burden as the 29th highest for all counties in the U.S., in a state that has either the highest or second-highest burden of all 50 states, depending on what study you read.
At just fewer than 7,000, Illinois also has far more units of local government than any other state.
Adding to taxpayer aggravation is that not only have bills stayed the same or increased despite home values falling after the housing bubble burst, but also that the very tax cap law passed to protect them during the good times now allows governments to capture inflationary revenue and continue to drive bills upward.
“It’s ridiculous, and something has to give. We have to realize that our firefighters, police officers and schools are important, but [governments have] to do better at budgeting, and we need people who are brave enough to take the needed steps,” Gasser said.
Gasser said he would have liked the question to have appeared on ballots in Algonquin and Crystal Lake, but volunteers did not have the time to collect the required number of signatures. Voters in Algonquin will be asked by the local fire-rescue district for a tax increase, while voters in Crystal Lake will be asked an advisory referendum whether the City Council should borrow $30 million to build a new library.