Dodge sees voter frustration with lack of transparency in Springfield
Jim Dodge, the Republican candidate for state treasurer, is not the least bit surprised that such a huge percentage of the state’s property tax largesse lies in the hands of such a concentrated few.
A new report composed by retiring Cook County Clerk David Orr found that nearly one of every three property tax dollars collected by Chicago lands in one of the 143 special taxing districts controlled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city aldermen.
“A focus point of my campaign is that many residents don’t make the connection between policies and politics in Springfield costing people plenty of money on their tax bill,” Dodge told the Prairie State Wire. “People are frustrated that Springfield doesn’t play by its own rules when it comes to transparency.”
By Orr’s estimation, upwards of a record-high $660 million spilled into tax-increment financing (TIF) funds in 2017, or roughly one-third of the total $2.1 billion-plus that city government collected.
“When you get that much money coming in, government gets greedy for more power and more money,” Dodge said. “Still, if you look at blue states versus red states, generally speaking, you’ll see that blue states have punishingly higher taxes and don’t run government nearly as efficiently.”
Dodge said those were all motivating factors for him staging his first run for public office against incumbent Mike Frerichs in November’s general election.
“I’m running because I care and I want to make a difference for people,” he said. “I want government to go back to the days of having the type of impact on people’s lives that I believe it was meant to have.”
Orr and others have questioned if TIFs do the job they were advertised to do, or simply contribute to an unfair tax system being even more unbalanced. The districts are designed so that all tax dollars netted from higher property values over a 23-year period are placed in special funds used to promote development, create jobs and fight blight.