Lockport finance director speaks out against property tax freeze proposal
A Lockport official supports local governments in the ongoing debate surrounding a proposed bill that would impose a two-year property tax freeze on local governments and townships in Illinois.
Lisa Heglund, finance director for the city, said the state should not have a role in deciding whether a local body can increase property taxes.
“The state does not receive property tax dollars and therefore should not be determining whether another taxing body should raise its property tax rates or not,” Heglund said. “If the state wants to lower the taxes individuals pay, they should review the taxes they (the state) receive.”
Hall said Lockport has reduced its property tax rate in each of the last three years without intervention from the state. She also said local officials are accountable to their residents and do not need policing from the state.
“If the revenues are justified and needed in a certain taxing body, it is up to them to determine how to raise those funds,” Heglund said.
Heglund pointed to reductions by the state that hurt local governments this year, including withholding 10 percent of income taxes and deducting a 2 percent fee from municipal sales taxes.
“These reductions hurt municipalities badly without any notice or time to prepare,” Heglund said. “To again affect our revenues without giving us time to prepare will further adversely affect our ability to provide the services our residents expect.”
Heglund said townships provide essential services for residences, such as senior services, property assessments and election services.
“Until a place is found to house those services, I don't see a way around Township Government,” Heglund said. "With that being said, I do believe that all parcels should be incorporated into a municipality. This would help to defray some of the duplication of services that do occur."
The proposed tax freeze, Senate Bill 851, was introduced Oct. 26 during the General Assembly's veto session. It would freeze property taxes for two years in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will counties, though counties could increase property taxes with voter approval.
The bill was not brought up for a vote in the Senate before the session ended.