Even If You Voted, Your Job’s Not Over

Even If You Voted, Your Job’s Not Over  By Grant Spooner 4/13/2016

By the time many of you read this, you would have had the opportunity to vote April 4, or before, for one or more races in your communities.

I would like to say, “many of you voted,” but, generally that’s not the case in a consolidated election, which features the most local races you can get: sanitary districts; lighting districts, townships, school districts and park districts, as well as municipal elections.

I always found that interesting: The races that have the most direct influence on our everyday lives often have the lowest turnout – by far.

Let’s look at it another way: Each of these races often has a line on your property tax bill, meaning they get a share of the pie each tax season. They use those tax revenues to operate for the year, and even though each of them has meetings open the public, again, we often are sitting at home watching talent shows or binging on Netflix feasts.

When we get our bills, we shake our heads and say, “This is outrageous! My taxes are too high!” Or at least we did before the recession hit and put many of our bank-owned homes underwater financially.

Even now, I hear commercials and see stories about groups urging people to vote against tax increases. Then I’ll think, OK, yeah, taxes are too high, but what is the choice? Cutting things like crazy? I’m certain there is waste is just about any taxing body. But enough to hold or even cut taxes? http://willcountynews.com/2017/04/13/rauner-attempted-to-bring-union-costs-more-in-line-with-what-illinoisans-can-afford/

Could I tell you where? If we paid attention to every taxing body, we probably could. If we found the waste, would cutting it be enough to hold down our taxes? Or, would increases in the cost of doing business – labor, insurance costs, general cost of living – mean we need to ante up a little more, or at least explain why taxes are what they are?

The point here is we often say taxes are too high, government is wasting, etc., without any real knowledge of what the heck they are doing and why. One of the best posts I saw on Facebook recently was a response to an official saying government should be run by like a business, and constituents are the customers.

The response? We, the constituents, are the BOARD OF DIRECTORS, not customers. And you, government dude, work for us.

The problem is, once we vote – or worse, don’t vote – we turn over the reins, and let them do whatever they want.

On a local level, that means we don’t attend meetings, and often, we don’t let our representatives know if we disagree, at a meeting or otherwise. Can you imagine hiring a contractor do redo your home and giving them free run of the place?

But we have. Do you know how we got into a pension crisis in the state? The state Legislature set up the rules for local school boards, which then voted on pension amounts for teachers and administrators, and sent the bill back to Springfield.

I know, right? http://willcountynews.com/2017/04/09/illinois-has-a-74-billion-debt-hole-for-teacher-pensions-and-the-third-party-payer-problem-helps-explain-why/

But do you attend your local school board meetings to see them vote on such things? Even though school districts generally account for the highest portion of your tax bills? Do you know why?

Do you know why your son or daughter comes home the first day of school with yet another new way of doing math? You ask the teacher, and many times, they just throw up their hands and say, it’s the will of federal and/or state government officials, many who have not been in a classroom since they graduated.

Now, here’s a question: If you voted in the April 4 election, do you know how the person you voted for will represent you on issues such as these? I hope you do.

If you didn’t vote, I’ll assume you don’t care. If not, you’ll be getting those property tax bills in several weeks. Have fun with that. http://willcountynews.com/2017/04/12/property-taxes-increase-property-value-decrease/




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