By Michael Castronovo
Like many government bodies currently, the Winnebago County Board is having trouble living within their means. Sadly, their solution, again, is to raise taxes. Their latest media spin is to try to tell us that it’s not really a tax increase. They justify this by claiming homeowners will still pay the same amount as last year. When the assessed valuations for homes go down, we should be paying lower taxes; if we’re not, then it’s a tax increase! It’s that simple! Our county governmental officials want it both ways; they want to raise our taxes and claim they are not raising our taxes. You know the old saying, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck!!!”
A couple months ago, an AARP magazine article stated that the national property tax rate averaged about 2 percent. In Winnebago County and Rockford, property tax rates are around 8-10 percent. That’s four to five times the national average. With our unemployment rate near an all-time high, businesses closing all over town, and house foreclosures continuing, this is not time for the county board to raise taxes! I applaud those seven board members who voted against the tax raise. Those members: Gorski, Yeski, Strathman, Aurand, Kinnison, Pollack and Schultz, had the courage to “Just Say No!”
This year, 5,300 homeowners protested their tax assessment. Perhaps now is the time to also call your county board members and protest by phone! Let them know how you feel about your house tax rate going up! And if you really want your voice to be heard, call the county board office, fill out the simple request sheet, and speak during the public participation time at the county board meetings.
This is not a Republican, Democrat or Tea Party issue; it’s just time to stop the “tax and spend” mentality of local Winnebago County government!
Mike Castronovo is a lifelong Rockford resident and owner of Studio B Recording, and recent recipient of the Elmhurst Citizens Advocacy Center’s “Citizen’s Initiative Award.”
From the Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2010 issue