Last week, Alan Krause wrote that Oak Park village trustee candidate Bridgett Baron’s “whole campaign is untenable” because she is focused on reining in excessive taxation and that “anyone interested in property tax relief would run for the boards of District 97 or District 200, which is where 63.5% of our taxes are spent.” [Baron is blowing smoke on taxes, Viewpoints, Feb. 27].
This is ridiculous for two reasons. First, village government has a huge financial footprint — its total budget is over $150 million, more than either school district — and can make decisions that sizably impact its levy. It can make choices to reduce spending and make decisions to increase revenue by, say, attracting commercial development (something the schools cannot do).
Second, with overall Oak Park property taxes sky high and growing too fast, it’s the responsibility of every government in town to look hard at their expenses and services to ensure Oak Park can be affordable for everyone. I’m not sure why anyone, if they actually care about reducing the property tax burden, would attack a candidate running for any board who has made this issue the cornerstone of their campaign.
Frankly, I wish more candidates in the current village and school elections were like Bridgett and Cory Wesley and truly committed to tackling the property tax issue here. They have my enthusiastic support. I invite Mr. Krause, and anyone else interested in real ideas for getting property taxes under control, to check out www.BridgettBaron.com, especially her essay, “Why village board candidates should face the closest scrutiny.”