Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United for America, was quoted by the Northwest Herald about his speech “Home Rule is Home Ruin” presented in Woodstock IL.
WOODSTOCK – With the possibility of Woodstock becoming home rule, local voter advocacy group Voters in Action is encouraging residents to be informed and know what the designation could mean for the city.
The group organized an event Wednesday night at the Woodstock Public Library, where about 45 people showed up to hear Taxpayers United of America President Jim Tobin’s take on the topic.
Tobin, who founded the taxpayer advocacy group in 1976, said his group characterizes home rule as the “most insidious” form of government in the country.
“The reason we think home rule is insidious is because it allows the city to raise property taxes without limit and without voter approval,” Tobin said, among other reasons.
In Illinois, when a municipality reaches a population of 25,000, it automatically becomes home rule, and Woodstock expects to reach that mark after a special census is conducted.
Advocates of home rule note the benefits, including giving more power to the people who know the community best, giving the city the ability to license landlords and create ordinances to require crime-free housing standards, and improving the city’s bond rating.
Others feel the city should not be able to raise certain taxes allowed under home rule without voter approval, and have concerns about the elimination of the property tax extension limitation law, which does not apply to home-rule communities.
Woodstock resident and Voters in Action member Scott Gessert asked the Woodstock City Council to consider a policy that would limit the city’s home-rule power, and the council agreed to look at a policy in regards to notification, public hearings and limiting PTELL with an emergency provision – but not to consider an advisory referendum.
“[A referendum] is one of the most important controls voters have over their local government, and there is no good reason to give it up and hand the power to the bureaucrats,” Tobin said.
Woodstock City Council members and Mayor Brian Sager have said advisory referendums take time and money, and consideration of new taxes under home rule would be brought before the public at City Council meetings.
Joe Tirio, Voters in Action founder and Republican candidate for McHenry County recorder, asked for volunteers to help the group canvass newer neighborhoods in Woodstock that will be targeted by the special census. Volunteers will knock on doors May 21 and 22 to encourage residents not to participate in the special census, he said.
“Help us tell those people face to face that we aren’t going to sit and let them get the keys to almost unlimited taxing power,” Tirio said.
Anyone interested in volunteering can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on home rule can be found on Voters in Action’s website at votersinaction.com, Taxpayers United of America’s website at taxpayersunitedofamerica.org and the city’s website at woodstockil.gov.
WOODSTOCK, IL – The Woodstock City Council has approved a special census with an eye toward certifying that the city has grown to more than 25,000 residents. If this is true, this would make Woodstock a “Home Rule Unit” and would substantially change the rules for how the city creates or changes taxes and fees in the city.
Given that Woodstock residents pay among the highest taxes in the state, and perhaps the country, citizens were concerned and Voters In Action were engaged. Leadership from Voters In Action reached out to Jim Tobin of Taxpayers United of America and have joined forces to present “Home Rule is Home Ruin”. The presentation, given by Mr Tobin, will take a closer look at what changes Home Rule brings and how they will affect local taxpayers.
View as PDF Woodstock—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of their updated analysis of salaries and pensions for Woodstock municipal government employees.
“Woodstock government bureaucrats are trying to seize the opportunity to steal even more of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash by adopting Home Rule for its greedy empire building,” stated Jim Tobin, TUA president.
“There are currently more than 300 full and part-time employees for a population of less 25,000! Fourteen of those employees make more than $100,000 a year and 157 of those jobs are pension eligible.”
“At least fourteen of the current Woodstock pensioners will collect more than $1 million in largely taxpayer-funded pensions, while the average Social Security (SS) beneficiary will be lucky to see about $400,000 in lifetime payments.”
“Home Rule will give the Woodstock bureaucrats the power to tax and regulate, virtually without limit, anything they want without the approval of voters through a referendum. If a measure is good for the constituents, it should stand up to a referendum. This is one of the most important controls that voters have over their local government and there is no good reason to give it up and hand that power over to bureaucrats,” urged Tobin.
“Never forget that 80% of municipal taxes, including property taxes, go to pay government employee salaries, pensions, and benefits and that number is climbing as the state continues to make necessary cuts.”
“Woodstock city officials state it would be ‘irresponsible of them to not take advantage of getting the extra $151 in shared state revenue per person’ for the city, and that the city has a history of keeping taxes low for residents by not taking the property tax extension limitation law. Just where do these officials think that ‘state revenue’ comes from? The sky? All revenue comes from us, the taxpayers.”
“To help the average taxpayer understand the problem, we list the names of the pensioners and the amounts they collect in retirement,” added Tobin. “It really hits home when people see the names of their local ‘civil servants’, people in their community that they know at least by name, and the stunning amounts they collect from taxpayers.” “Timothy J. Clifton, retired from the Woodstock Municipal Government, tops our Woodstock list and ranks 230 in the state of Illinois with a very comfortable $112,998 annual pension! The accumulation of those payments, over a normal lifetime, will reach about $2.9 million. His contribution to that gold-plated pension was only $342,341.”
“Roscoe Stelford, III tops the list for our highest current Woodstock salary. This poor ‘civil servant’ takes in about $155,000 in salary alone! This doesn’t include the gold-plated pension and other benefits he gets!”
Click the links below to view the following data:
“We need constitutional reforms that change the Home Rule statute to leave taxing power with the taxpayers’ approval and reforms that eliminate the political pensioners as a protected, elite class,” said Tobin.
“The era of smoke and mirrors to siphon wealth from the hardest-working middle class is over. We need to send a loud and clear message that their pattern of reckless empire building is no longer acceptable. Illinois is in a financial meltdown and if we allow local officials to pick up where the state has left off, there will be few choices left for taxpayers but to revolt or vote with their feet,” concluded Tobin.
*Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3% COLA (simple interest) and assumes life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590). Nearly all IMRF pensioners also receive Social Security benefits in addition to their IMRF pension. Any blank spaces in the data are intentional and due to government redactions or withheld data points in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts.
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