Raising property taxes not the solution to Illinois' financial problems, Dodge says
Jim Dodge can appreciate the efforts of anyone working to rescue Illinois from the depths of its financial doldrums, even if he doesn’t necessarily agree with the principle being put forth in the process.
Dodge was recently on hand for a forum where a trio of economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago discussed the prospect of raising Illinois’ already high property taxes as a way of paying down its stifling pension debt.
More specifically, the proposal broached the idea of Illinois homeowners paying 40 percent more in property taxes for the next 30 years to cover the state’s $129.1 billion in unfunded pension liability.
According to Crain’s Chicago, the team of Thomas Haasl, Rick Mattoon and Thomas Walstrum reasoned their proposal is as fair as it is sensible given "Illinois residents who have benefited most from the past services of governmental employees are more likely to be homeowners, so it seems reasonable” they would be saddled with a larger share of the costs.
“It was a great piece of economic modeling that helps show how bad it is,” Dodge told the Prairie State Wire. “To the economists’ credit who did the work, they had very important caveats and assumptions on why they looked at a property tax. Never once did the Fed Reserve economists advocate it as a recommended policy, it was just one of multiple ways to illustrate a solution to a very serious problem.”
But that’s where Dodge’s graciousness ends, with the Orland Park Republican running for state treasurer drawing the line at the thought of another property tax increase for a state that already boasts some of the highest rates in the country.
“I could not be more opposed to the idea of a state property tax increase,” he said. “Full stop.”
Dodge said in his view, the state suffers from a spending problem as opposed to a revenue one and legislators simply haven’t done an acceptable job of displaying leadership in terms of administering and adhering to a sensible spending plan.
“We are in this hole because legislative leadership has been doing two things for years: practicing fantasy finance and then lie and deny when it comes to what they do, what they promise and how much it actually costs,” he said.
Dodge said the consequences of it all are as clear as they’ve proven damaging.
“Taxes will keep going up, the state’s finances will keep deteriorating, people and businesses will keep leaving and we will stagger from crisis to crisis,” he said. “All of that hurts the very people that can least afford the state to be this incompetent. How does a crushing tax burden about to get bigger help anyone?”