Baron is blowing smoke on taxes

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I just read Bridgett Baron's Viewpoint article on her candidacy for Oak Park Village Board [Oak Park's urgency: Reining in excessive taxation, Viewpoints, Feb. 20], and I think her whole campaign is untenable. 

She claims to be concerned about Oak Park's property taxes and includes a chart showing a 68.3% increase in taxes "among all six taxing bodies" and other sources. This figure has absolutely nothing to do with her candidacy. 

According to information recently published by Oak Park Township (http://oakparktownship.org/sites/default/files/Referendum%20Information%20Flyer.pdf), the top three recipients of Oak Park's real estate taxes are District 97 at 38.9%, District 200 at 24.6%, and the Village Of Oak Park at 10.3%. 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. 

Running for the village board on a tax relief agenda is just blowing smoke. I would ask Ms. Baron to list the multimillion-dollar village programs she considers to be boondoggles that she will cut and which will result in hundreds of dollars of tax cuts to each Oak Parker's real estate tax bill.

Alan Krause

Oak Park

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Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: February 27th, 2019 10:35 PM

I'm voting for Bridgett. Better to vote for someone who sees tax as as problem, rather than voting for someone who wants to spend even more. She will make a great trustee.

Heinz Schuller from Oak Park  

Posted: February 27th, 2019 8:50 PM

In addition to Navi Bill's excellent points, I'd just like to add the data shows that the VOP levy increased 23% between 2015-2017 ($25.4M to $31.3M). And between 2000 and 2017 we saw a 160% levy increase while village population remained flat. Help me out here, why don't we want our trustee candidates actively addressing this?

Navi Bill  

Posted: February 27th, 2019 7:36 PM

Mr. Krause, what's untenable are many of your conclusions. And no, there are no boondoggle-level issues that need be identified for significant reductions to happen. For sake of space, let's focus on one particular myth that you perpetuate in your letter: "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." As Bridgett has previously noted in another essay, "there are a few (gigantic) holes in this simplistic statement" and "any argument that Village Trustees cannot impact the tax burden and fiscal condition of the Village displays a significant lack of understanding." She also states: In tax year 2017, the Village levied $33 million (18% of the $180 million collected by Oak Park's six taxing bodies). However, the total expenditures for the Village were approximately $150 million. These expenditures pay for the operations of public safety, public works, Village Hall, infrastructure, CDBG allocation, TIF expenditures and much more. The reason that the actual levy is about one-fifth of total expenditures is that the Village has so many sources of revenue beyond the levy. (Sales taxes, motor fuel taxes, transfer taxes, parking tickets, licenses, etc.). This is a much different situation than the schools, in which the vast majority of revenue comes from the levy. Given the fact that the total expenses and revenue for the Village exceeds either school district by a wide margin, citizens who are looking for fiscal stewardship in their elected leaders should give the closest scrutiny to Village Board candidates. You can read her entire essay, "Why Village Board Candidates Should Face the Closest Scrutiny," on her campaign website: https://bridgettbaron.com/why-village-board-candidates-should-face-the-closest-scrutiny/

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