Wilhour wants focus put on controlling spending, promoting economic growth -- not hiking property taxes
Blaine Wilhour has fundamental issues with the idea of Illinois again raising property taxes as part of a grand plan to rid the state of its massive pension liability.
“This might be the worst idea I have heard yet,” Wilhour told the South Central Reporter. “As a percentage of property value, we already bear the highest property tax burden in the nation. Our politicians and bureaucrats need to stop trying to figure out ways to tax our way to prosperity. It does not work.”
Wilhour felt compelled to speak out after a trio of economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago recently raised the prospect of hiking Illinois’ already sky-high property taxes as a way of paying down its stifling pension debt.
More specifically, the proposal broached the idea of Illinois homeowners paying 40 percent more in property taxes for the next 30 years to cover the state’s $129.1 billion in unfunded pension liability.
“The only ways to start digging out of our terrible situation is to promote policies that control spending and promote economic growth,” Wilhour, a Beecher City Republican running for representative in the 107th District, said. "This is where our focus needs to be placed.”
Economists Thomas Haasl, Rick Mattoon and Thomas Walstrum reasoned their proposal is as fair as it is sensible given "Illinois residents who have benefited most from the past services of governmental employees are more likely to be homeowners, so it seems reasonable” that they would be saddled with a larger share of the costs," according to Crain's Chicago Business.
Wilhour strongly begs to differ.
“This will put an unduly burdensome load on already overtaxed homeowners,” he said. “Already, many families are essentially paying an extra four or more mortgage payments just to cover the property taxes. This will not help the state attract jobs and opportunities. It will do the opposite.”
As long as the problem is allowed to fester, Wilhour said residents can expect more of the same.
“Taxpayers will have no choice but to continue voting with their feet and leaving our state in record numbers,” he said. “This will further erode our tax base and put even more pressure on the folks who stay.”
Finally, Wilhour said, for the system to truly change, there needs to be a change in the stream of consciousness of most lawmakers.
“Our political class has to move away from the thought process that we can just tax, borrow and spend our way out of this mess,” he said. “We need to send bold and aggressive leaders to Springfield that are committed to challenging the status quo. The status quo has driven this state into the ground.”