Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) held a press conference this week to discuss the legislation's failure to make any real progress toward property tax relief.
"Time and time again, we’ve seen chronic failure of the Democratic majority of dealing with the most important issues facing Illinois," Durkin said. "The recent Property Tax Relief Task Force is a woeful failure and continued failure to address important issues citizens are demanding."
Durkin blamed the state's exorbitant property tax rates as the main reason droves of residents are leaving Illinois for other states.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs)
"Let’s be clear, members of the Democratic majority traded their votes for the progressive tax amendment for a task force," Durkin said. "We once again see them still not taking this seriously. I am convinced there was really no process at all. For a state so in need of tax reform, Democrats have proposed increases. Heaven help the middle class."
If Democrats were serious about property tax relief, the minority leader said, it would have been done by now.
"They’re only concerned about raising taxes," he said.
State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) said she joined the task force hoping for real change, but soon became disappointed by the process.
"Every time I go door-to-door in my district, they are struggling," Mazzochi said. "We have an outcry for reform. [But] when you look at what [the Democratic members of the task force] presented, you ask yourself, 'Are they even serious about reform?' I suggest they are not. There was little to no chance to debate on a final draft. I asked to bring everyone together so we could debate and bring something meaningful in front of the governor, and they declined. We aren’t going to see any relief for seniors or the middle class. There is a lot to do. We need structural reform and it is sad that the Democrats aren’t there."
Another Republican member of the task force, state Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), said the Democratic majority created yet another meaningless task force to address one of the state's most pressing issues.
"This is the standard of the Democratic Party," Wehrli said. "It's crystal clear that we need serious reform and we have since at least 1975. Yet here we are with no actions."
"They had six months," Durkin said. "There were no votes, not a lot of meetings and a summary rejection of all Republican recommendations. Something needs to be done to help our state."