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Letter to the Editor: Tax Protestors Denied Entrance to Kendall County Fair

Send your letter to the editor to steven.jack@patch.com.

As you may be aware, a non-partisan group of citizens in Kendall County have formed a group to protest the extreme property tax burden being placed on the people of our communities. We have called ourselves the Kendall Tax Revolt and have a very informal organizational structure, no officers, no funding just a (lot) of folks concerned with their ability to afford to live here under the extreme taxation simply because they own property in Kendall County.

One of our main points is "We believe in the right of citizens to own and afford to live in their homes." Government services such as schools, parks and libraries, etc. are worthless to anyone who is being foreclosed upon. Before these services can be useful, first you have to have a place to live. We also believe that the ownership of private property and individual rights are protected by the US constitution and these rights far outweigh ANY rights of the state, including local taxing authorities.

The burden of property tax is a principal factor that has led to Kendall County having one of the states highest foreclosure rates, and one of the highest rates of property taxation anywhere in the United States. We can no longer sit idly by while our friends and neighbors are forced from their homes so some people can receive premium level government services. Our local governing boards and elected officials have turned a deaf ear to the numerous complaints we have made regarding these issues; instead they plow forward by requesting the maximum tax levy allowed under the law, year after year. In some cases they have handed out very large salary and benefit packages to public employees as if the money they receive comes from a printing press.

We have yet to hear a single public official make a statement recognizing the difficulty many citizens face in regard to property taxes, even in this very tough economy. These people better hang on to their day jobs because changes will soon be coming to those who refuse to significantly reduce the size of local government.

Our efforts to place a non-binding referendum on the November ballot are nearly complete. We have almost reached our goal of 2,600 signatures. The ballot question will demand a 20 percent reduction in tax levy from the prior year from EVERY unit of local government. That's what we want. If people think this is too much they are free to contribute unlimited funds to these entities, or they may be asked to pay greater user fees. The important point is the reliance for funding on local property owners must end now.

Our members went to the Kendall County Fair grounds (Thursday) morning where they received a very rude and unwelcoming person who claimed to represent the owner. He told our petitioners to leave the premises immediately. It was our intention to pay the entrance fee and come in to ask people to sign the petition. It is interesting how they have allowed protesters in the past, have a number of political speakers and have representation from the two dominant political parties on site, but a small contingent of petitioners gets the boot. I wonder if he knows how many hundreds of our supports may be avoiding his fair indefinitely?

We must be hitting a nerve with someone, but I'll leave it too you to guess who could possibly want to silence the voice of citizens looking to live in affordable housing. We have heard all the arguments about why taxes here must be so high, not one of them holds water against the right to live in your own house, free from the ideas of the big spending bureaucrats that are ruining our community.

Greg O'Neil

russ harrison August 11, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I have deployed as a first responder for FEMA on several occasions.I have been across the country doing disaster relief and assisting homeowners.Part of my job is to examine documents of property insurance and ownership.The preferred document to present to me is the TAX BILL.That means that I have seen tax bills from across the United States and particularly the Gulf Coast region.That also means that I have seen the infrastructure (police, fire, schools,roads....lots and lots of roads!) in those areas. I've seen luxury homes and properties, and certainly some that I would have condemned even before the disaster.I've met hundreds of residents and spoken with them,sometimes briefly,sometimes at length.None seemed to indicate that their areas schools were inferior or superior to ours.They were for the most part about the same.The roads were adequate,and in many cases the police and fire departments were better staffed and equipped for large scale emergencies.What I did NOT see were property taxes comparable to ours for the same services. I was initially shocked at how low their property taxes were compared to ours.After I factor the higher cost of living for our area,I am still at a loss as to explain why our expenses are so high compared to other regions across the country. It matters not whether the population is denser or more scattered than here.The public servants' salaries are a BIT lower,but the taxes here are much higher for comparable services. Why? Snow removal?
Here's Why August 12, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Because in most states, property taxes are not the number one method of funding government like here in Illinois. That's not to say there isn't plenty of room for improving how money is spent, but you can't compare Illinois tax bills to other states that primarily fund government functions through higher sales taxes, progressive income taxes, etc.
Kevin Wagner August 12, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I was there and what you heard is true.
Kevin Wagner August 12, 2012 at 02:54 AM
I am confused. What percentage of Kendall County property taxes go to the State of Illinois?
Kevin Wagner August 12, 2012 at 03:00 AM
A friend of mine unconfused me. Looks like Junior Colleges get about 5% of our property taxes.

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