A new group borne of the civil disobedience of a man paying his property taxes with $1 bills wants to marshal other fed-up taxpayers to fight for relief.
Frustrated homeowner Dan Aylward, whose gesture made national headlines, and several other high-profile local tax fighters banded together to form Illinois Tax Revolution, which has scheduled several local protests in the months before the Nov. 8 election. The group’s chairman, longtime anti-township activist Bob Anderson of Wonder Lake, said taxpayers have to do more than gripe to one another to improve things.
“If we’re going to make any changes, it’s going to have to come from a grass-roots effort,” Anderson said.
Protesters in the parking lot of the McHenry County Treasurer’s Office cheered Aylward on June 13 as he paid his first $5,734.18 installment of his property-tax bill in singles, a gesture he has vowed to repeat with the second installment for a total of $11,468.36 in $1 bills. He said at the event that he will continue doing so until he either dies or until the ever-increasing tax bill forces him to move out of the home along the Fox River in McHenry that has been in his family for 105 years.
Aylward helped launch the group along with Anderson, McHenry Township Republican Central Committee Chairman Steve Rooney, Republican McHenry County Recorder candidate Joe Tirio and Lakemoor resident Rose Venegas.
The group has scheduled three protests – the first Wednesday at the Lake County Treasurer’s Office, the second on Aug. 31 at the McHenry County Treasurer’s Office, and the third Oct. 12 at the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. The group on its website at www.illinoistaxrevolution.com has printable “one-page petitions” for people who cannot make the protests to submit.
The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation ranks 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. 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.
Anderson and other tax fighters are aware that county treasurers only collect the money for the numerous units of local government that decide how much they want – at just fewer than 7,000, Illinois has the most governments of any other state. But that doesn’t mean that the group isn’t going to work to persuade more people to pay their tax bills in singles.
Rallies, he said, are a good way to get the support needed to do something about tax bills that are driving more and more McHenry County residents out.
“People need to do more than talk to a neighbor over a fence. People need to go to rallies and show support,” Anderson said.
If you go …
The group Illinois Tax Revolution will hold three anti-tax protests in the coming weeks:
• 11 a.m. Wednesday, Lake County Treasurer’s Office, 18 N. County St., No. 102, Waukegan.
• 11 a.m. Aug. 31, McHenry County Treasurer’s Office, 2100 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock.
• Noon Oct. 12, James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago.
On the Net
You can learn more about the group at www.illinoistaxrevolution.com.