Wow! Schaumburg’s First-Ever Tax Levy is $23.7 Million

I try not to be surprised, but, yow! I had no idea residents of Schaumburg have never paid a tax levy in the village’s 53 years of existence.

Now, the roughly  75,386 residents are going to have to dig deep to help plug a budget gap, adding about 8.1 percent to each resident’s 2009 tax bill.

From the Daily Herald:

The decision to establish Schaumburg’s first property tax in the village’s 53-year history may not have been a popular choice, but it was needed, Mayor Al Larson said.

“They’ll probably throw us out of office in a year and a half, but it’s something that you have to do,” Larson said. “It’s not taken lightly; we didn’t just make up a number and throw it out there. There’s some real, real costs to the village.”

Trustees unanimously approved a $23.7 million tax levy at Tuesday night’s meeting, which was moved to the Prairie Center for the Arts as village officials anticipated a larger audience. About 70 attended the meeting with 10 making public comments opposing the levy.

The village’s new property tax will add about 8.1 percent to a resident’s 2009 tax bill. The village will start collecting in 2011.

Schaumburg officials said decreased revenue from sales, hotel, food and beverage taxes and the state’s income tax helped create a $17.6 million deficit in the budget.

Larson wouldn’t forecast if the tax would ever be lifted, citing the uncertainty with the economy. He asked if he could “borrow a crystal ball” to predict when the recession would be over.

“Is it going to be over in a year, two years, three years?” he said. “If revenues come back the board certainly would look at cutting the levy.”

Holy over-budgeting, Batman!

Note the mayor pledged to possibly cut, but not eliminate, the levy, somewhere down the road.

Now, perhaps, the South Suburbs will have more success convincing the rest of the state to reform the way schools are funded?

Residents of Schaumburg, welcome to the great State of Illinois.

Blago The Destroyer

Gov. Rod BlagojevichHis intransigence knows no limits. The people of the State of Illinois are hurting. These things are understatements.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do.

Until the next election.

We’re stuck with Blago the Destroyer, the Governor-Who-Won’t.

This is a sad time to be from the State of Illinois. I have had a number of conversations with State Representatives and State Senators about the governor. All bewail and bemoan the fact that Governor Rod Blagojevich simply doesn’t care. He wouldn’t even consider such a silly thing as compromise. His “no-new-taxes” pledge is running Illinois into the ground. The Pledge means no school funding reform.

Blago doesn’t get it that you don’t understand.

After all, he pledged to not raise taxes when he first ran for governor. He won’t raise taxes. He won’t consider creative alternatives for relieving the property tax burden on Illinois residents. He won’t work to ensure that Illinois is no longer 48th in the nation on school funding. He won’t work for equity in school funding, so students at Bloom Trail High School can some day read history books in their library that post-date the Cold War.

He won’t listen no matter what you say. Remember, Blago doesn’t get it that you don’t understand.

Wow. Remember how we all had hope back then? Remember how we actually believed that a Democratic governor would make a difference to the people of Illinois? What were we thinking?

Blago doesn’t care. He’s concerned about what might come next, what office he might run for next, his next fund raiser. School funding reform is not a real concern. Why should he care that Illinois still ranks near last in school funding? Why should he care that school districts like Bloom and Ford Heights have next to nothing while Naperville thrives?

Blago cares about his image. Haircuts are important as well. Must look good for the cameras, after all. But he is absolutely incompetent when it comes to critical thought, struggling to find real solutions to real-world problems and issues.

Lt. Governor Pat Quinn supports recall legislation, saying that Gov. Blago would certainly be a target if this legislation was passed. Blago says he supports the legislation, but his House floor leader, oddly, does not. From the Chicago Tribune:

Though Blagojevich publicly has embraced the concept of recall, his House floor leader, Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), angrily denounced the bill. Also opposed are Comptroller Dan Hynes and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Quinn, a Democrat who said he has backed such an amendment for three decades, called the measure an important way to give power to citizens and to keep elected officials accountable.

According to Quinn, based on the number of votes cast for governor in 2006, it would take 418,401 signatures to put a gubernatorial recall on the ballot.

It may be an exercise in futility, but I’m certain signatures could be found in downstate Illinois.

And in the south suburbs of Chicago, where property taxes are choking businesses and home owners.

Blago really doesn’t get it.

During the last election, I attended a rally for the governor. As he passed by, I shook his hand and told him, “Governor, you have to do something about property taxes and school funding reform. Our residents are desperate.”

He gave me the same smirk in the photo above.

“Sure,” he said.

Then he walked away.

(Photo: Gov. Rod Blagojevich at the 2005 Martin Luther King Celebration in Matteson, IL, courtesy eNewsPF.com)