Property taxes and equity

Opinion

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By JIM SCHWARTZ

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It is that time of year again, when the cold winds of winter start to blow, the time when some of us celebrate the holidays, and the time when our local elected boards make decisions about budgets and property taxes for the coming year. 

Budgets and money mean controversy because we are all understandably sensitive about our ability to sustain ourselves and our families. A decrease to our paycheck, an increase in rent, or an increase in taxes can all be seen as threats to our basic needs. 

On the other hand, we agree to the government's power of taxation because it can provide services that we either cannot provide on our own or can only provide at greater expense — public safety, transportation, education, and many others. So a tax increase can be seen both as a means of providing services to the public and as an attack on citizens' means of supporting themselves. This is why these debates can become so heated. 

Our human inclinations complicate the debate as well. One factor is that it can be difficult to differentiate what we want from what we need. I believe some of us who fight against property taxes do so because we are worried about supporting our basic needs or worried about the abilities of others in our communities to support themselves. There certainly are people on fixed incomes — elderly and low-income residents — as well as people whose housing-cost increases are outpacing their income increases. I share the concern that if property taxes continue to rise, they could push out lower-income elderly people and others from our community.

But I am equally sure that some of us who fight against higher property taxes do so because these taxes impact our ability to live in as big a house as we want, or have the car we want, or take the vacations we want. And I worry about whether those in our community who are most vehement in this debate are those who don't need lower taxes, but want them, and are fine with achieving those lower taxes on the backs of others. 

Too often in this discussion, I hear property tax opponents attacking others' integrity, competence, and worth. I have heard a number of people claim that the elected officials who were considering raising taxes were unethical, were breaking promises, or that the reason people voted them into office was because they are people of color. I have heard property tax opponents make blanket statements that our public school teachers are incompetent, either by referring to their own experiences or cherry-picking school performance statistics, to argue that schools should not get any more money. And I have heard other opponents say that no amount of money will help "inner city" kids learn more — code words for kids of color — so we shouldn't raise taxes.

People say these things because property taxes are one of the things we talk about when we're actually talking about race and power. Too often, we wield our words like a cudgel against those we disagree with or don't understand. Unfortunately, this can mean financially fortunate white people criticizing people of color in these coded ways. It can mean property tax opponents impugning the decency of teachers. 

But it can also mean those who support higher property taxes questioning the decency of those who favor tax restraint.

We can have a conversation about property taxes with care and nuance. There are reasonable positions on both sides of this issue, and we can advocate for lower, higher, or stable property taxes from a racial justice perspective. What we cannot do is discuss property taxes while ignoring the real connection we all have to one another in society, or by throwing others under the bus as less than ourselves. 

What we cannot do is forget that we belong to one another, and that while we do have a responsibility to care for our families, we also have a responsibility to all members of our village and society. While we advocate for our strongly-held beliefs, let us also remember to advocate for one another in a spirit of empathy.

Jim Schwartz is an Oak Park resident.

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Reader Comments

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Deb Brown  

Posted: December 15th, 2019 8:18 PM

I am so tired of seeing "If Oak Park's taxes are making your life unbearable, leave Oak Park for a less expensive location". I've lived here all my adult life and planned to retire here. These comments are obnoxious and shows such a lack of empathy for people who are struggling to stay in their homes. It's disappointing to see that sentiment over and over again from my neighbors.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: December 14th, 2019 1:42 PM

Gee, I was wrong about Mr. Smith. He is a brilliant comedian in the tradition of Richard Pryor.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 14th, 2019 12:39 PM

Jeffrey Smith Brown people are known as Latinx. You have to stay up with what people want to be called. What I have enjoyed when not letting Latinx into the country is mentioned all of the name's of towns that are in Spanish. The Spanish were in this country before the White people showed up

Richard Gorman  

Posted: December 14th, 2019 11:35 AM

Unfortunately Jeffery, there seems to be a third reason to post. And for those of who choose to post, your comment is offensive and misguided.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 13th, 2019 10:44 PM

Regardless if you believe its hypocrisy or not, the more we know about our elected officials the better. When I "crack the case" Adrian, I'll make sure I give you a call so you can represent me.

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: December 13th, 2019 9:04 PM

Basically, people post on the WJ comment section for two reasons: 1) To complain about the tax rates in Oak Park and 2) To express their aversion to brown people, either overtly or covertly. I have answers! 1) If Oak Park's taxes are making your life unbearable, leave Oak Park for a less expensive location and 2) Get over it, because in a few years brown people will be the majority in America and you will no longer be wielding all the power. Short of genocide there's nothing you can do about it. You're welcome! Cheers, Jeffrey

Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: December 13th, 2019 9:45 AM

When a D97 Board member chastises people for complaining about rising taxes, while appealing his own, of course it is a gotcha moment to reveal that, appeals are public info. And for the record Jason, I don't "hate" anyone of these politicians. I disagree with them and I hate some of the things they do because it hurts people here in town. Big difference. And D97 Board member Breymaier appealing his taxes while working to raise everyone else's is something voters should know about.

Todd Kahn  

Posted: December 13th, 2019 9:44 AM

Richard thank you for making the first comment that makes sense. The notion of this article, that you need to support higher taxes to show empathy, is ridiculous. The view that we can just take from homeowners because they have it and can take less vacations or send their children to community college is insulting. We pay the highest taxes in the county for average schools. The fact is our boards are lazy and view the solution to everything as asking for more money. We are all asked to do more with less in our jobs, at home, etc. but our boards refuse to hold themselves to the same principles. Destroying home values (good luck selling your house in Oak Park) and forcing businesses out (Winberie's finally had enough) is not good policy. Equity is paying for what you get. We pay high for mediocre. That's not equity.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: December 13th, 2019 7:54 AM

@Bruce, I am not a supporter of higher taxes and I think our taxing bodies need to look at how they handle the TIF funds. My argument was focused on the idea that an appeal is somehow a "gotcha" moment which I don't agree with. The reality is that one of the biggest barriers to equity in our community is our very high property taxes. Anyone that wants to live here is impacted by this. Renters indirectly pay it as the building owners pass that cost to them. Obviously it makes it more costly to own a home here. If we want the village to be as diverse as possible there should definitely be a push to keep property taxes down as well as offer the right services to help people stay in our community.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 10:30 PM

Richard Gorman no discussion needed. That sounds very fair and as far as I know, every one has an opportunity to do the same thing

Richard Gorman  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 9:54 PM

The assumption by those who endorse higher taxes is that increased taxes, are well intended, and fair, regardless of cost or benefit to the community. Those who endorse tax increases after successfully implementing them, demand the rest of us pay "equally". Clearly there is a limit to their convictions. I contest my Oak Park property taxes not only because I am convinced they are misguided and detrimental to the overall community, but also because I resent the forced allocation of my assets. Where would there be a better use of my hard earned money? Maintain my home, my chosen charity, a college education for my children, my retirement and hopefully something at the end of the road for my children? The tax burden in Oak Park cannot be justified and to contest my taxes is the only option I have to protect my interests. Selfish, maybe, but let's have that discussion.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 8:17 PM

My comment below is directed to Jason. Sorry I did not stipulate that.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 8:16 PM

And by the same token our taxing bodies should not be asking for "more than their fair share." Like D97 keeping an extra $2.5 mil that they were not entitled to two years ago. But guess what? This will be decided where it should be: at the ballot box. And I hope those like yourself who favor confiscatory taxes, encourage a system that financially benefits the very people who make up our tax laws (through their inane law firms specializing in appeals) and actually - when it comes right down to it - does pit neighbor against neighbor when and if you do appeal ... yes I hope those who believe as you do are universally dismissed from office.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 6:01 PM

Interesting comparison. Sending a child to possibly die in a war or paying a little more in property taxes. Those are not exactly the same thing and most politicians that vote for war don't have their kids go rush to fight. The right comparison is the one made by @Adrian. Just because someone is asking for money for a budget doesn't mean they should have to pay more than their fair share. This crowd wants to hate on anyone on the left which is what it is. The whole point of the actual post is about being empathetic towards people in all tax situations. Cool to see you all have embraced that.

Nick A Binotti  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 3:00 PM

I propose an income tax appeal process in which I can contest my state income tax liability against retired residents. I'll claim, "See that retired couple over there? They have the same income as me, paid out in the same currency as me, but they don't pay squat. Plus they has better looking fescue."

Nick A Binotti  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 2:40 PM

Taxes have a strange correlation to the fear of being Left Behind. Some folks are willing to pay more taxes, but *only* if others of equal or greater means also pay more. But there's nothing preventing anyone from paying more today if they so desire. Do you feel your local taxing bodies require more funding? Don't claim any property tax exemptions. House over-assessed? Contest on principle alone. When you win, you can tell your local taxing bodies to keep the change and your refund will come in the form of self-satisfaction in knowing that you were right all along.

Neal Buer  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 2:07 PM

I never have appealed my taxes in 40 years. I just don't feel right about reducing my taxes through an appeal, thereby asking my neighbors to pay more. The taxing bodies will still get all the money they asked for. When I purchased our home, my taxes were .8% of value. Now they are 3% of value. The value of my home has gone up 10 times in 40 years. That is not counting the money spent for improvements which is equal to about half the increase. My taxes however, have gone up over 30 times.

Pete Prokopowicz from Oak Park  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 1:24 PM

Tom MacMillan and I seem to have had similar reactions at about the same time :)

Pete Prokopowicz from Oak Park  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 1:11 PM

Support for higher taxes and the continuous appeal of one's taxes don't sit well together - like supporting and voting for war but getting as many deferments as you legally can. FWIW my family hasn't appealed our taxes in the 25 years we've been in our home. But for the first time I am opposing the un-democratic means that our boards are using to raise our tax levies without a referendum.

Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 1:07 PM

If you have trouble understanding the outrage of a politician, forcing their neighbors to pay higher taxes, while reducing their own taxes at the same moment, then here is a nice analogy. A politician who votes for war while keeping their own kid from being drafted. Both actions have slime all over them. D97's Broy and D200's Martire think it is ok to do that. Each voter needs to know if the local Social Justice Warriors like appealing their own taxes. If the politicians feel no shame over it, that says a lot about them. D97's Katherine Murray-Liebl voted to raise everyone else's taxes while defending Broy's appeals on Facebook, she thinks that is just fine. Let the voters decide if these people are what we want or not.

Gregg Kuenster from CPA 40 years  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 12:34 PM

Yes I am a hypocrite. We all are hypocrites. That does not change the facts. Declining Housing Values and Increasing Property Taxes will increase from a declining tax base. OPRF test scores are declining. Many with the ability, flexibility or means will continue to leave the village. Those who remain will shoulder an ever increasing burden. The poor will be left behind . Do the Math. I project property taxes will double within the next 6 to 7 years. We have unfunded pension and health care cost increasing over 15 percent annually for local teachers and public workers for the next few years. Do the math. Do the math. Do the math. Wishing for a better outcome by pointing out our collective hypocrisy does not change the facts nor the outcome.

Adrian Rohrer  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 11:32 AM

@Jason Cohen. Exactly. It's manufactured outrage.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 11:08 AM

I really don't understand the "outrage"over anyone appealing their property taxes regardless of what side anyone has on any of the issues. People should agree to pay more than their fair share simply because they support certain programs? That makes no sense at all. The only way an appeal is successful is if there's real proof that the taxes are too high which means they were too high. I like a lot of things but that doesn't mean I am willing to be overcharged for them. All these people noted are paying the same increases we all are. Should they willingly pay more based on being taxed incorrectly? That's just silly.

Adrian Rohrer  

Posted: December 12th, 2019 10:47 AM

"Lastly, Mr. Schwartz pays right under $2,900 a year in property taxes on his condo and he appealed his taxes in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017. Clearly, he feels he is being overtaxed or else why would he even bother to appeal? His property tax bill in 2009 was $2,500. The hypocrisy of our leftists activists know no bounds!!!" This is similar to claiming outrage when finding out someone that supported a raise in the sales tax then negotiated over the purchase price of a new car. Whether you agree with it or not, arguing a levy should be set at a certain level to meet projected budgets, but appealing the assessment of your home to ensure its value is assessed properly as compared to other properties in the Village (which is what a tax appeal is) is not hypocrisy. By all means, though, keep posting peoples' tax appeal history as if you're actually cracking the case.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 9:51 PM

Ramona Lopez It would be easier if you mention what position the names you are writing about hold in Oak Park, although I searched. I think Holly Spurlock owns property because in one website when she was running she says, "I am motivated because I believe all of our kids have the potential for greatness and it is our responsibility as adults to establish systems and structures so that they can all succeed. I am also motivated by the need to raise critical thinkers in our community and beyond. I am invested in Oak Park's commitment to send kids into the world as scholars and global citizens." She took her own advice and do alright although not all school children are going to end up all becoming scholars and global citizens's. The World still needs ditch diggers and some one needs to rod out a sewer pipe

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 9:19 PM

Holly Spurlock is quite the conondrus situation. According to the cook county recorder of deeds office, she purchased a home in Oak Park in 2011, but has never taken advantage of the homeowners exemption. She appealed her taxes in 2017. Now what I find weird is that her and her husband also own a home in Hyde Park and don't take the homeowner exemption on that property as well. As I dug further, her husband owns another condo as well in Hyde Park and again, no homeowner exemption taken. Makes me wonder where she actually resides.

Gregg Kuenster from Certified Public Accountant 40 years  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 9:18 PM

Declining Housing Values and Increasing Property Taxes will increase from a flat or declining tax base. Many with the ability, flexibility or means will continue to leave the village. Those who remain will shoulder an ever increasing burden. The poor will be left behind as always. Amen Richard Gorman. Do the Math. I project property taxes will double within the next 6 to 7 years. We have unfunded pension and health care cost increasing over 15 percent annually for local teachers and public workers. Do the math. Do the math. Do the math.

Richard Gorman  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 8:26 PM

I suspect you are uncomfortable with a free market economy, but for most it provides a measure of desirability, demand if you will. Oak Park housing values are in freefall. How do you explain this? Ask a local realtor. Cost versus benefit. The spin is the schools are fantastic, worth the mind numbing property taxes. But the market says no. Putting your money where your mouth or heart is can be a real challenge. Why do villagers who support the various referendums upon receiving the resulting tax increases appeal their property tax assessment? I look forward to your response. After 28 years in the village my take on the future of Oak Park is regretfully not bright. Housing values will continue to stagnate or decline and property taxes will continue to increase in order to fund continued increased village and school spending from a flat or declining tax base. Those with the ability, flexibility or means will continue to leave the village. Those who remain will shoulder an ever increasing burden. And we haven't broached the taxpayer obligations related to Oak Park and Illinois pension obligations. This will not end well.

Corey Gimbel from Oak Park  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 6:43 PM

Whewwwww as this Wednesday unfolds and the outraged comment flood mounts, both here and on FaceBook, I have this image, in my mind, of Jim Schwartz ensconced in his ill-kempt lair, feet up, cheap beer in hand, lips pursed in a uniquely, swarmy, little smirk, laughing to himself at us all (the terrorized victims of his bomb-throwing missive FREELY transported for his amusement, by his unwitting accomplice, the Wednesday Journal), in the self-contained, tiny bubble of his ignoble existence, safe behind his monitor and our innate, communal civility which he, obviously, has no need to participate in. How sad and venal a human being he must be..........

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 5:08 PM

Tom MacMillan if the people who are raising taxes are public officials such and they are also appealing their taxes, then that would be of information and maybe a list of everyone who raises taxes as a public official would be helpful so that list can be copied and used when it is voting time

Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 1:58 PM

WOW, so the woman who just voted to increase everyone's taxes at D97 appeals her own taxes every year? And the guy who voted to increase the spending at D200 appeals his taxes, so he can pay less? Just, WOW. Keep researching please.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 1:19 PM

Keecia Broy contested her property taxes in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014 and 2013. She is savvier than most . Most don't know they can challenge their taxes every year. Most are under the assumption you can only do it the year we are reassessed.

Corey Gimbel from Oak Park  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 12:33 PM

If nothing else this comments thread has given me some things to google and mull over.More to follow post those Google searches.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 11:51 AM

Ralph Martire regularly appeals his taxes as well. The guy who is an advocate for raising the state income tax and has no qualms about defying the voters of Oak Park and still plans on building the pool. Hypocrisy abound!!

Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 11:36 AM

I just want to know if Jim used his property tax appeal money on a new car, or a vacation?

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 11:13 AM

Ramona Lopez I spent a few minute building a profile and now understand what you are writing about and also with Bruce Kline. From my modest understanding of people, there will be no changing the thoughts of another individual when they are that deeply ingrained that their belief is without doubt the true path. That now makes sense why you would call out a person who would tax away tax money that would continue to pursue that individuals belief. That demonstrates that the person really does not believe what they are saying if they are not willing to put up the money that they think will change the outcome. I applaud Kitty Conklin for taking a stance and always multiply by 10 since that is the average that people stand by an opinion although do not get involved so she has 20 percent of Oak Park against the price of living in Oak Park. She would be a good guest to have on Trustee Moroney's new podcast. I do not know any of the board leaders names although I would think they have an obligation to tell the tax payers why they are making the decision they are . The school's are a big source of tax dollar's and not one questions why. It is just opinion pieces. There are a lot of smart people posting on OakPark.com and I hope those people are subscribing or donating because this is the only place that I can find what is going on in Oak Park. I just would like more knowledgeable people to start explaining who and why taxes continue to go up

Jim Schwartz  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 9:09 AM

Thank you to all of you who took the time to read my op-ed and respond. I value the opinions and ideas that you are sharing with me because certainly my perspective is not the only one on this or any issue. I am citizen learning about property taxes in Oak Park and trying to understand them through the lenses of justice and kindness, two of my most important values, so certainly hearing others' perspectives is very valuable for me. My intent in writing this was not to criticize any particular person for their stance on the issue of property taxes in Oak Park. I tried to communicate in this piece that there are many reasons one could be concerned about property taxes, and certainly your own self-preservation and empathy for other Oak Parkers are two of those reasons. I regret that anyone who approaches this issue from a stance of empathy would think that I was criticizing their motivations, and I need to think about how my position and words produced that outcome. At the same time, I think the message at the core of this op-ed was that whatever our motivations on this or any issue, we must take care to communicate our message with empathy. I do regularly hear and read the words of people attacking others -- students, teachers, elected officials -- in a bid to win the argument on property taxes. I know there is anger on this issue, and anger can still be held with empathy. Finally, although I question the way that it was brought up, I think it is a fair point that I appealed my own property taxes while taking the position that those taxes can be seen as a vehicle for supporting our community. My only response is that I am an imperfect human being who is learning more about property taxes, and I certainly will reflect on whether appealing my taxes in the future is inconsistent with my values. That is something we all have to do regularly as human beings -- ask ourselves whether our actions are consistent with our beliefs. Again, I appreciate you all engaging with me.

Kitty Conklin  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 6:18 AM

The first of my neighbors who were forced out of OP because of the level of costs in OP left around 4 years ago. The most recent had their final house sale last week. And I know the moves are not over. As a vocal opponent to the level of property taxes in this community who can, thankfully, afford the level of property taxes here, I find this author's generalizations and arrogance to be absolutely tone deaf to the reality of life for many of these people I've met these last few years. As the creator of the online petition, I can see the name of every one of the over 1400 people who have signed the petition. I am able to read the reasons they have provided for signing the petition. My efforts and empathy are aligned with everyone of them and those like them who have been afraid to sign the petition and my efforts will continue for them.

Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 2:01 AM

@Ramona - with all the Board Members in town who are voting to increase our taxes and who are grabbing our TIF funds - it would be AWESOME to know who among them are also appealing their property taxes, like Jim. That would be something to see.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 11th, 2019 12:03 AM

@Mr. Clarkson. Mr. Schwartz has no interest in the long term effects of his ideology. He and the other activists in Oak Park simply want to punish those who are successful because they deem success as immoral since the only route to success is by oppressing someone else. They have just repackaged the Communist Manifesto. Instead of the bourgeois and the proletariat, it's the oppressor and the oppressed. Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of 20th century history can see this has been attempted several times and failed so miserably nearly 100 millions bodies can be laid at the feet of this parasitic ideology. Fear not though, Mr. Schwartz and his fellow comrades believe their "version" is true and compassionate.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 11:28 PM

@Tommy McCoy. I am simply demonstrating the hypocrisy of Mr. Schwartz by using nothing more than a google search and going to the cook county assessor website. In this opinion piece he is not saying everyone needs to pay more property taxes excluding himself. His actions say otherwise. I'm sure most property owners wished their taxes only went up $400 in the last 10 years or 16%.

Tom Clarkson  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 10:28 PM

Jim, consider looking at the issue through a different lens...not race and power but vitality. Oak Park does not exist in a vacuum. We already have the highest property taxes around and on the margin good people will choose/be forced to not buy houses here or choose/be forced to leave. The result - home prices and tax base don't keep pace with comparable places to live in Chicagoland and budgets are eventually reduced in a less orderly fashion. Isn't it healthy for all to have a tax rate that is reasonable? We already expect Oak Park tax rates and services to be higher than average but have you asked yourself at what point is it too high? I think the people you refer to that specifically want even higher property taxes may be shooting themselves in the foot.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 9:33 PM

Bruce Kline I must have read the opinion incorrectly if he is saying taxes need to go up as long as he does not have to be part of it. As for Ramona Lopez, who has given some very good posts, it just seemed below her to post public information and could have possible said she has noticed that Jim Schwartz has no problem contesting his own taxes. There just seems that there should be a limit to how much information, regardless if it is public, should be limited by using a sense of decency unless a person is reporting a story and gathering facts. I could gather a lot of information if I wanted to. I started out learning how at a young age although to me, it is just be polite to another person and I would and do limit every one who I have met and what they have said because I consider it to be done in confidence. I think I must have misunderstood what Jim Schwartz was writing about since I do recognize both you and Ramona Lopez and very knowledgeable individuals and I need to base some times my own opinions from people I do consider knowledgeable

Bruce Kline  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 8:06 PM

Tom. No new car for you. Only Trabant permitted. No new house for you. Only Soviet approved abodes permitted. No vacation for you. Only to East Germany permitted. Oh. No more East Germany. Well ?. Never mind.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 8:04 PM

Tommy. What Ramona cited is a matter of public record. And public records are public for a reason: they are essential to a free and open society. Furthermore, I think her point is well taken. Mr. Schwartz is implying that folks such as myself who believe our property taxes are confiscatory, are nothing more than greedy over privileged elitists; leeching off the blood sweat and tears of the lowly working class. Yet here he is ?" the hypocrite in chief, comrade Schwartz - appealing his property taxes; a dubious act in itself - especially for a social justice warrior (if you win your appeal, your neighbor's tax has to increase). You can't make this stuff up. LOL.

Tom MacMillan from OAK PARK  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 5:56 PM

Silly people, living in houses that Jim Schwartz has decided are too big for them. Daring to "want" a new car or being selfish enough to desire a vacation.

Brian Souders  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 5:55 PM

Ugh. Here we go again in Oak Park and OakPark.com - if you're in favor of holding the line on our ever-exploding property taxes, you're a racist insensitive to basic needs of our village and society. Basic needs like a $40 million high school pool, multi-million park district community center (with pool), absolutely elite high school and elementary teacher salaries (the biggest component of any resident's tax bill), a full recording studio for the library, bluestone sidewalks downtown, etc. When will folks like Schwartz recognize that our high taxes are a major hurdle to seniors, middle-class and diverse people staying - or coming - here? Hurdles to Oak Park staying Oak Park?

Mattie Langenberg  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 4:53 PM

"But it can also mean those who support higher property taxes questioning the decency of those who favor tax restraint." That's a nice way of putting it.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 4:07 PM

Ramona Lopez You have always posted agreeable information. I am noticing now that people want to add in more about what other people are paying or involved with which seems a bit personal although maybe this is the new way of social media. Although no one has yet mentioned how many bowel movements a person has a day or a week. How fad down will people go to inform information about others instead of just making valid points to have people think about. Maybe you could also add in the person's age, and annual income. It does not have to stop there. People can add in a person's address, if they are married. Sexual preference, etc.. The point is, make the point without the need of a person's personal information. Let others do their own searching what is open to the public

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: December 10th, 2019 3:37 PM

Mr. Scwartz has written in the past about liberalism and how Oak Parkers are superficial. If a leader in our community would utter the words "Ask now what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country", they would labeled as part of the alt-right. Classic liberalism has gone out the window and been replaced with this far leftist/Marxist ideology. Mr. Schwartz is an admirer of Noel Ignatiev, a staunch communist and comes out loud and clear in his writings. Lastly, Mr. Schwartz pays right under $2,900 a year in property taxes on his condo and he appealed his taxes in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017. Clearly, he feels he is being overtaxed or else why would he even bother to appeal? His property tax bill in 2009 was $2,500. The hypocrisy of our leftists activists know no bounds!!!

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