Proposed school funding hike would fuel Illinois exodus, Balich says
As Illinois State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith calls for a $50 billion increase in public school funding for next year, Will County Board candidate Steve Balich is criticizing the idea, saying yet another state tax increase would continue to allow seniors and those on a fixed budget to have their income "legally stolen."
Balich, who served on the Will County Board for two years, is speaking out against Smith's proposed spending increase, saying the tax increase needed to fund the additional spending will only continue to drive people out of the state and decrease property values.
"A $6,000 property tax bill equals $500 per month," Balich said. "People aren't stupid, everyone knows the tax right over the border is much lower. The people in Homer Glen where I live have had it with taxes and our ever increasing water bills. Seniors and others on a fixed income see so much of their disposable income taken away – legally stolen – they have to move or struggle to make ends meet," Balich said.
"I know that as taxes increase property values decrease, and more people are either forced to move or figured out that paying rent in the form of increasing property taxes is a good reason to get out while the getting is good," Balich told the Will County Gazette.
"The only people moving to Illinois are those who have to because of their job," he said. "The people left that don't move get the privilege of paying higher taxes to make up for those who left."
Balich said during his time on the board under the Republican majority, spending cuts were made to make capital projects work while reducing the tax rate.
"As a board member, I was part of the group removing county board members from the IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) pension program, giving no pay raises to elected county offices," Balich said.
"I go to the schools, fire districts and the township and demand they do not raise the levy," he said.
"I say any person voting a property tax increase has the disease 'Raise my Taxitis,'" he said. "Every taxpayer should take the time to go to the meetings and voice their opinion."