Candidate: Efficiency, effectiveness lacking in Illinois politics
Elected officials in Springfield need to be better stewards of taxpayer money, not least because of an amendment to an existing bill that would require most llinois counties to implement property freezes via voter referendum, a Republican House candidate contends.
"Officials need to remember that this is taxpayer money and there is an obligation to spend it wisely," Jeff Keicher of Sycamore, who is running for the 70th District House seat, told the DeKalb Times. "I use the phrase 'other people's money' with regularity because that is the foundation of understanding that taxing bodies need to realize."
Keicher said high property taxes are crushing Illinois families, farmers and businesses.
"I hear this every day when I speak to voters in the district who are clamoring for tax relief," he said. "This is an important and a primary issue that must be addressed in order for Illinois to move forward productively."
For much of late October and so far this month, a series of amendments have been proposed to Senate Bill 851, including Amendment No. 1, which would implement a two-year property tax freeze for Cook and some collar counties while the rest of the state would be left to freeze property taxes via voter referendum.
Bryan Smith responded to the amendment with an urgent legislative alert.
"This would mean for those townships/road districts in those counties, this year and next year your extension limitation would be zero percent unless voters approve an increase," Smith, the executive director of Township Officials of Illinois, warned.
The alert continued: "In all other counties outside of Cook and the Collar Counties, the amendment, if passed, would allow a county board to place a referendum on the ballot in 2018 to have a property tax freeze for all local governments within that county for 2018 and 2019; or whether to have all local governments within the county subject to a property tax freeze for 2018 and 2019 AND then subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for levy year 2020 and thereafter."
The amendment passed out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee on Nov. 2 with a recommendation for adoption.
Keicher, an insurance professional hoping to replace the retiring Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley), said that as a small-business owner he decided to run for office to "help lower taxes and make Illinois more attractive to raise a family or create jobs."
"I see taxes mentioned in the outflow of residents from Illinois as the No. 1-cited reason people move away," he said. "It is well-documented that Illinois has more units of government than almost every state in the nation. We need to provide services more efficiently and effectively.
"That includes the elimination or consolidation of local taxing bodies that all feed off of property taxes."
The 70th District includes DeKalb County and some of Kane and Boone counties.