Since property taxes have been on the minds of all of us for the last few weeks I think it would be appropriate to address the attempt by some novice candidates to politicize this issue and mislead taxpayers with false information. Even though Halloween is over, one candidate in particular is still trying to play trick or treat with residents.
Democratic machine candidate Maher believes our property tax bills are not telling the truth. As he claims in a recent email blast sent out by his campaign he accuses me of voting “for the last two Todd Stroger budgets.” For anyone who actually follows Cook County government closely you would know that to be a completely false but it seems politics is more important to Mr. Maher than the facts. The record shows that I voted against the 2007-2008 Budget. That county budget, along with the 133% sales tax increase, was approved solely by Mr. Maher’s democratic party on the County Board. It was his party’s Board President Todd Stroger and his democratic machine majority that shoved the 133% sales tax hike down the throats of Cook County taxpayers. It was his party’s Board President and majority that sustained the President’s veto of the sales tax rollback when I helped lead the charge to repeal it. The 2008-2009 budget was not Todd Stroger’s budget but an amended budget proposed by county board reformers. In fact, I have never voted for a budget as proposed by either Stroger.
He then makes an outlandish claim that “those budgets triggered tax increases that sent our taxes through the roof”, another false statement. If he had done his homework, he would have found that in 2002 the County asked for $720,483,542 from property taxes. The exact same amount was requested from 2003 through 2009. That reflects a 0% property tax increase. While during that same period of time, the Orland Fire Protection District went from collecting $17,334,360 in property taxes to asking Orland property taxpayers to pay a whopping $26,316,113 in property taxes. That amounts to a massive 52% property tax increase since candidate Maher has been on the Fire District Board. The difference in your tax bills is that the County asks for just over 6% of your total property taxes to run the court system, public health system, public safety, jails, roads and all other purposes while the Orland Fire Protection District asks for about 12.5%, almost twice what the County asks for.
His next statement is evidence that he truly doesn’t understand property taxes. He claims that under his leadership, the tax rate dropped by 20%. If he truly understood property taxes, he would know that taxing agencies do not set the tax rate. They merely submit a tax levy to the County Clerk who then sets the tax rate. As illustrated, the amount of money he has asked the taxpayers for is up by 52% since he took over while the County of Cook has asked for 0% more this year and every year since 2002.
The facts that I have provided can be checked and proven. This latest attempt by democrat Maher of political mudslinging is but the first of what is sure to be numerous “mud of the week” letters. You can expect more of this type of ‘nonsense politics’ from my opponent in the weeks and months to come. After all, he is the Deputy Committeeman of one of the democrat machine organizations that hand-picked Todd Stroger and placed him on the ballot in 2006 and then handed him the keys to the President’s office and the county’s checkbook and it was members of his family who donated thousands upon thousands of dollars to the Todd Stroger campaign.
I’m proud to have stood up time and again against the waste and mismanagement of the Stroger administration and as your county commissioner I will continue to challenge the patronage programs, excessive taxation and the questionable policies put forth by this administration and the democratic machine that backs him up every time at taxpayers’ expense.
If you would like more information on my record as 17th District Commissioner and Cook County government, please visit my website at: www.lizgorman.com.