Taxpayers Score Big Victory With Referendum-Language Bill

Illinois taxpayers achieved a huge victory with the passage in the Illinois house of a bill that would require property-tax increase referendum language to more accurately describe the potential cost to property owners, according to the Vice President of Taxpayers United of Illinois (TUA).

“This is a big, big victory for taxpayers,” said Christina Tobin, TUA Vice President. “It passed without a single ‘No’ vote in the Illinois House last week. The bill now moves to the Illinois Senate, where chief sponsor, President Pro Tempore Don Harmon (D-39, Oak Park) expects it to pass.”

“Our organization spearheaded the effort to bring attention to the misleading referendum wording of some Chicago suburbs,” said Tobin. “We are gratified that our hard work paid off.”

The bill would require that all future ballot referendums contain calculations using the state equalization factor, known as the multiplier, rather than just a property’s assessed valuation. The referendum language used on the April 5 property-tax increase referendums understated the actual amount of the tax increase that property owners would face if the referendums passed.

“On behalf of Illinois taxpayers, I thank the House sponsor, Rep. Michael J. Zalewski (D-21, Riverside), and the Senate Sponsor, Sen. Don Harmon.” said Tobin. “It’s no accident that they represent constituents in Riverside and Oak Park. The local taxpayer groups in these two municipalities are potent political forces, and their members look forward to working with these two legislators. I predict more taxpayer victories lie ahead.”

The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark reported that 10 referendums in Cook County on the April 5 ballot did not include the state equalized assessed valuation (EAV) multiplier, including the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 and Oak Park Elem. School Dist. 97 referendums.

Although the Dist. 208 property tax hike was soundly defeated, Tobin stated that TUA will be filing a lawsuit this week against Dist. 208 for what it considers the inappropriate use of taxpayer money and other illegal electioneering tactics used by the board to advocate passage of its April 5 referendum.

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