My wife and I have the dubious distinction of owning a business and real estate in Chicago and a home in Oak Park.
Recently the Chicago Sun-Times related that the city of Chicago ranked 46th of large cities with regard to a city's ability to attract and retain viable businesses. Our property taxes increased 70 percent in the last assessment and the sales tax is soon increasing to the highest rate in the nation at 9 percent. Other Chicago taxes as well will soon be the highest rates in the country.
The Sun-Times also noted that the state of Illinois ranked 46th of the 50 states in terms of the desirability of its business environment. And perhaps not coincidently the Sun-Times this past August related that the state ranked 3rd of the 50 states in its burdening of its citizenry with state and local taxes. Consider that this past year the state employed more people in government than in manufacturing.
Then there's Oak Park with perhaps the highest local taxes in a high tax state. While I ponder a park district referendum, a new public works facility, a new high school teachers' contract of unknown cost and looming district 97 and 200 tax referendums, I can't help but wonder how this story ends.
As my monthly property tax obligation approaches my monthly mortgage cost I also ponder the fairness of it all. When I add up all the various taxes applied to my having lived another year it easily exceeds half of my income. Is this fair? Do my obligations to the state and the village exceed my obligations to my family? What happens when those of us who pull the wagon for those who like to ride, decide to stop pulling?
Perhaps one of the many in this community who are so fond of high taxes has the answer.