Balich: voters should weigh in on any tax increase

Balich: voters should weigh in on any tax increase

January 11th 2016

me Dec 2014

Taxing bodies that want to go beyond the tax increases allowed by the state’s tax cap must now seek voter approval through a referendum. They are also required to hold public hearings every year before approving their tax levies, which are typically sparsely attended. But Will County board member Steve Balich, R-Homer Glen, does not believe that is enough to stem the increases in property taxes.

He has placed an advisory referendum on the March 15 primary ballot that would require voter approval via referendum in Homer Township for any increase — no matter how small.

By law, increases in property taxes are now limited to the Consumer Price Index or 5 percent, whichever is less. Any taxing body that wants to increase taxes beyond that must get voter approval. On the March 15 ballot, there will be at least five such referendum requests for tax increases.

Balich knows that taxing bodies could ignore the results of his advisory referendum — if it passes — but he said it is the “strongest statement citizens can make” to their public officials, and he challenges them to defy the will of the people.

“I have made it very clear that anyone who votes for any increase without asking the people first with a referendum will find their name in the papers and social media as ignoring the express will of the people,” he said via email. Anyone who goes against the will of the people needs to be voted out of office, he said.

The referendum asks: ” Shall each taxing body located partially or wholly within Homer Township be required to seek voter approval by referendum prior to increasing its annual total property tax levy?”

Balich said he hopes that if his measure is successful in Homer Township that other areas will follow.

Also on the March 15 primary ballot are requests from the White Oak Library, Taft School District 90, Peotone School District 207-U, Northwest Homer Fire Protection District and Plainfield Library District — all seeking voter approval to increase the limiting rate beyond what the law allows. The Village of Beecher seeks to add a 1 percent sales tax.

slafferty@tribpub.com

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