Property taxes are a 'system of oppression'

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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After attending several of our taxing bodies' Budget Financial Meetings and hearing about others, it has become apparent to me that everyone in Oak Park is a victim of oppression by our taxing bodies. We have yet to hear from our school districts, but we can always count on both of them to be over the 3 percent tax levy — both have announced numbers, but numbers aren't final, see Dino Andrew's chart on Facebook in OPPTW (Oak Park Property Tax Watch).  

With two TIFs expiring, the taxing bodies are poised to take their portion of new property value and add it to their baselines to help increase their levies for this year and the years to come. We can rewrite our Diversity Statements up the wazoo, but our taxing bodies have now become the "systems of oppression," with levies that are out of control and unnecessary. 

One of the biggest issues facing anyone who wants to move or stay here is property taxes and the yearly increases. If you're a renter, it's just passed down to you with rent increases. As a homeowner, well, you know, it'll show up on our tax bills. Yet the people on these boards, who live here and should know better, are gearing up to stick it to us again. Even the township, the normally reasonable unit of government, voted to take the TIF value and increase their baseline. I have no problem with them taking their share of the new TIF money as a one-time distribution, but adding it to their baseline means it will be added forever. Our property values have dropped dramatically, to say the least. 

Wake up everyone, property taxes are our "system of oppression;" they are one of the greatest opponents of diversity. If you have to be upper class to afford to live here, we won't be the diverse village we are now. It won't matter what the Diversity Statement says or if we have a Housing Center. 

So you say, "What can we do?" Go on the taxing bodies' websites for dates and times their boards meet and show up at their meetings. Get your neighbors and friends to do the same. Pass the word. Speak in public comment. Good gosh, say something, do something. Get mad!

Amanda Massie

Oak Park

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Reader Comments

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Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 27th, 2019 12:52 AM

I like the heading because it attracts attention. What I do not understand is why in a town where people are suppose to be better educated could have missed what was happening for several years. I suppose it never effected their pocket books and now the majority are being effected. Alright, so now people are on board and know this is not the Oak Park people want. They want an affordable Oak Park. I give the most credit to Monica Sheehan for pushing so hard about when the school wanted a big pool. I know others worked with her, although it was her who kept commenting. Now you have to do what Bruce Kline has commented. You have to get very serious if you plan to be able to afford Oak Park. You have to learn the board members and how they vote. This is going to take work and if the majority are willing to do that work, then you will get the change you want. When new candidates are running for election, make sure they are willing to answer your questions directly, because they are going to effect you directly. Oak Park can be returned to an affordable place if you really want it. I suggest following Trustee Andrews facebook page. The man has held to what he would do if he was elected a trustee. He will answer your questions or find the answers for you. There are some very good comments on OakPark.com that help inform others. With that being said, think about the importance of OakPark.com

Neal Buer  

Posted: November 27th, 2019 12:23 AM

The boards of the taxing bodies will ignore any input, petitions, etc. and take the money like a robber with a gun. They remind me of Plunkett of Tammany Hall why he did what he did and in response said, "I seen my opportunities and I took um". Funny thing is, he was more honest than our taxing bodies.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 27th, 2019 12:12 AM

Well said. "Good gosh, say something, do something. Get mad!" I might add: "get mad, particularly at the ballot box next election." That is indeed where the rubber meets the road. And I hope candidates - such as you - who brought these very issues up last election, will not be so easily dismissed next time around.

Leslie Sutphen  

Posted: November 26th, 2019 10:50 PM

Amanda. This is a well phrased summary of what our problem is!

Monica Sheehan  

Posted: November 26th, 2019 8:58 PM

Excellent comment and summary, Amanda! Property taxes in Oak Park are oppressive and driving out all manner of diversity.

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