Stop Oak Park and River Forest District 200 from Raising Our Property Taxes on December 20!

Brought to you by:  Protect District 200 Property Taxpayers
Barb Langer, Ph.D., Founder and Barry Epstein, Ph.D., CPA, Forensic Accountant

The Board of Education (BOE) for Oak Park-River Forest High School (OPRFHS) District 200 (D200) in Oak Park, Illinois, said on November 15 that D200 will pass a 2.5% property tax increase on December 20, 2012, despite having a $123 million cash surplus.
BOE members indicated that while they will hold a perfunctory “Truth in Taxation” public hearing immediately before approving the new levy on December 20, they will let nothing deter them from extracting their annual pound of flesh from D200 households.The only way District 200 residents can stop the BOE from passing the levy is to come and protest in person…

Thursday, December 20, 2012
7:30 p.m.
Oak Park River Forest High School
201 N. Scoville, Oak Park, IL.

Only mass political pressure will have any impact on the BOE.  Otherwise, you will face annual property tax increases from D200 forever.

D200 BOE President Terry Finnegan set forth D200’s arguments for the levy in a November 28 article, “Criticism of D200 levy is misinformed.” [i]

Mr. Finnegan took exception to our earlier articles in the Wednesday Journal [ii]  and Dr. Langer’s public comment opposing the Levy at the November 15, 2012, D200 BOE meeting. [iii]

We have rebutted Mr. Finnegan’s published arguments in the attached article. [iv] D200 also posted a description of the levy. [v]

Our brilliant forensic accountant, Dr. Barry Epstein, CPA, CFF, [vi] reviewed D200’s published Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports and Projections for the last 10 years [vii] and found no justification for a new levy at this time. [viii]

Dr. Epstein will present a Power Point Presentation at the 7:30 p.m. BOE meeting on Thursday, December 20 at the high school that will be posted here following the meeting.  Please come and see him.  He’s a great speaker!

Below, after links to related documentation, are Dr. Epstein’s analysis of D200’s financial reports and Dr. Langer’s explanation of why and how D200 can and will pass the levy unless D200 residents come and protest at the December 20 BOE meeting.

Click below to view Dr. Epstein’s analysis, SD200 By the Numbers,  and related documentation (some files are large and may take a few moments to download).:
SD200 By the numbers
Dr. Langer’s analysis of SD200’s justification of tax increase
SD200 By the numbers (500 word version)
SD200 By the numbers (800 word version)
Our Rebuttal to D200 BOE President Finnegan’s 11/28/12 Wednesday Journal article
Dr. Langer’s Public Comment at November 15, 2012 D200 BOE meeting
Dr. Langer’s Viewpoints article censored by the Wednesday Journal
Dr. Langer’s report on BOE Pres. Finnegan’s refusal to speak
D200 Pres Finnegan’s Letter denying Dr Epstein’s request to speak on Dec20
D200 BOE President Finnegan’s email declining our request to speak
D200’s Notice of Property Tax Increase
ii Langer B:  Say no to District 200’s new tax levy increase.  Wednesday Journal, p. 26, 13Nov2012
Langer B, Thomas V:  District 200 rushes levy increase, survey.  Wednesday Journal, p. 23, 20Nov2012
iii Dr. Langer’s comments at November 15, D200 BOE meeting
iv Rebuttal to District 200 President Terry Finnegan’s article entitled: “Criticism of District 200 levy is misinformed”
v SD200 Description of 2012 Preliminary Levy

Illinois' HB6258 is a Quacker – Lame Pension Reform for Lame Ducks

View release as PDF
CHICAGO–The proposed reform of the Ill. government employee pension system, HB6258 is described by some Springfield politicians as “bold,” but is actually lame and largely ineffectual, according to Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
“The so-called pension reform bill proposed by St. Rep. Elaine Nektriz (D-Northbrook) and St. Rep. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst), will not ‘solve’ the problems that will make this government pension system collapse,” said Tobin. “The system is so far in the hole that it is self-destructing and a radical overhaul of the system is absolutely necessary.”
“Shifting the cost of government pensions to local governments, as this bill proposes, would cause havoc for homeowners. The local governments would be forced to sharply increase property taxes. Remember the old-and-true saying: A tax shift is a tax shaft.”
“The current 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) is compounded which means the annual pension benefits double every 24 years. The ‘golden years’ truly are golden for government retirees make far more than they did when they were actually working. Without eliminating the COLA, we haven’t solved the problem of the ever-increasing pension liabilities. A Harvard study found that the elimination of a 3% COLA eliminates 25% of a pension fund liability.”
“By 2014, because of new accounting standards, the state must reform its method for calculating the value of the pension system’s assets using a 5% return on its pension investments, down from the totally unrealistic current rate of 8%. Any so-called reform that does not calculate the true pension liability using a 5% return estimate is not reform; it is just another political can-kicking exercise. If they miss this mark, the bond market will cut the state off, and Illinois won’t be able to borrow any money at reasonable rates.”
Tobin proposed the following, drastic but necessary, reforms:

  • Totally eliminate cost-of-living increases (COLA).
  • Contributions to the government teacher pension plans should be increased from 8% to 14%, as they currently are in Ohio, with comparable increases for other government employees.
  • Both retirees and current government employees should pay half of their health-care contributions. This would save $230 billion over the next 35 years, a savings of $6.6 billion annually.
  • The retirement age should be raised to 67 for full pension benefits.
  • In order to permanently eliminate unfunded pension liabilities, we must replace the defined benefit system with a defined contribution system.

“Without these truly ‘bold’ reforms, the Illinois government pension plans will collapse,” said Tobin.

Good Taxpayer News from the West Coast

View release as a PDF
California taxpayers are fighting the good fight, holding their own, and have achieved victories that are not reflected in the negative press the state has been getting recently.
The Golden State’s taxpayers are represented by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), which was formed initially to protect Proposition 13, passed on June 6, 1978. Prop 13 cut the property taxes of every California property owner by 60% and requires a 2/3 supermajority to raise taxes.
Thanks to Prop 13, the assessment rate is now only one percent for all California property and annual tax increases are limited to no more than two percent. When property is sold it is then reassessed at market value, but the rate remains at one percent and the new owner is then protected by the two percent cap on annual increases.
According to the HJTA website, by working through the Legislature, courts, and ballot initiatives, the Association has saved Californians billions of dollars. Estimates are that Prop 13 has saved California taxpayers over $528 billion dollars. And when you add in all of the other HJTA victories, the average California family of four has saved more than $57,000 as a direct result of the activities of Howard Jarvis and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Some recent victories include:

  • Successfully campaigned against Proposition 180, which would have cost taxpayers $3.5 billion to purchase land for special interests.
  • Sponsored and passed Proposition 218 — the Right to Vote On Taxes Act — to restore and expand taxpayer protections provided by Proposition 13.
  • Went to court and successfully blocked an illegal $1.9 billion bond that the state was attempting to issue to cover its expenses. The taxpayers would have been obligated to repay principal and interest.
  • Led the fight that defeated the powerful public employee union campaign behind Prop. 56 — a direct attack on Proposition 13, which would have made it way too easy to increase taxes.
  • Led the successful campaign that defeated Prop. 88, which would have imposed a new state tax on all California property owners.

Recent lawsuits by HJTA have saved taxpayers nearly $4 billion. HJTA maintains a full-time presence in Sacramento to lobby against bills that are bad for taxpayers and to promote those that improve taxpayer protections.
Further information may be obtained from the HJTA website: