Lisa Madigan Again Opposes Toll-Tax Rollback

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The office of Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) again is asking Judge Rita M. Novak of the Circuit Court of Cook County to grant Madigan’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit that would roll back the toll-tax increase that went in to effect on January 1st.
The suit, brought by Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA), one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America, also asked the court to declare that the Tollway Authority is required by law to convert all toll highways to freeways and to dissolve itself. Madigan is opposing that also, even though that’s what it states in the Ill. statute.
“The Tollway likes to brag about how efficient it is on a cost per mile basis,” said Tobin. “But if you calculate the true cost – by including Tollway payroll – it comes to $397,003 per tollway mile, and this doesn’t even include the gold-plated pensions of the employees and bureaucrats. Instead of paying-off the original Tollway bonds, the greedy politicians at the Tollway keep issuing more bonds. This process will not stop until the people say NO!”
“The original bonds, in the amount of $400 million, were paid-off years ago,” said Tobin. “Yet as of December 31, 2010, the Tollway had over FOUR BILLION DOLLARS ($4,066,675,000) in Illinois State Toll Highway Revenue Bonds outstanding. Furthermore, on August 25, 2011, the Tollway adopted a 15 year $12 Billion Capital Plan, thereby assuring its continued existence until at least 2026. What happened to ‘Toll Free in 73’?”
“Can Lisa Madigan in good faith claim that any of the $4 billion in outstanding bonds is being used to build the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), the Northwest Tollway (I-90), or the East-West Tollway (I-88)?  These were the first three tollways and each of them should now be freeways.”
“The next court date, June 19, 2012, would be the time for Madigan to tell Judge Novak that she is withdrawing her motion to dismiss. The case is set for a status hearing at 10:00a.m. in Room 2402 of the Richard J. Daley Center. Will Lisa Madigan do the right thing?  Don’t bet the farm on that.”

Taxpayers United Files Petition With Ill. Supreme Court in Oak Park Dist. 97 Case

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On June 5, 2012, plaintiffs Taxpayers United of America (TUA) and Noel Kuriakos filed a “Petition for Leave to Appeal” with the Illinois Supreme Court regarding its lawsuit against Oak Park Dist. 97, which places the petition in the Court’s hamper of cases, whereby the Court will decide whether or not to hear the plaintiffs’ petition.
If the Court decides to accept the Petition for Leave to Appeal, it will then decide whether or not to hear plaintiffs’ appeal regarding the lawsuit.
The question presented to the Supreme Court is whether the state legislature intended to allow school districts to understate the amount of proposed real estate tax increases by three times when they put referenda on the ballot seeking voter approval of those increases.
In the Oak Park case, District 97 claimed in its property tax increase referendum that their proposed real estate tax increase would be just $37.40 on a home with a fair market value at the time of the April 5, 2011 election of $100,000. The true increase was in fact $126.04.
The difference between those two figures was due to the state equalization factor, which was 3.3701 for the tax period in question. Oak Park District 97 claimed it did not have to use the state equalization factor, which was how it was able to understate the real estate tax increase by over three times the actual amount.
Now it is up to the Illinois Supreme Court to decide whether it will accept this case for its decision on the matter.

Does Truth Matter?

OAK PARK—On Thursday, May 3, Taxpayers United of America (TUA) will canvass the streets of Oak Park with flyers in order to raise awareness about the deceptive referenda ballot language used by the Oak Park Government School District 97 in 2011. The district’s tactics resulted in a successful property tax increase.
TUA later filed suit on behalf of Oak Park Taxpayers, to end such deceptions.
Oak Park flyer
“When we challenged the deceptive activities of the School District, we knew it wouldn’t be easy,” said Christina Tobin, vice president of TUA, and Founder of Free and Equal Elections Foundation, “But the actions of the school board were so blatant, we had no choice.”
A shocking ruling by Judge Mary Mikva, on the lawsuit, basically said it was “ok” for the district to grossly understate the amount by which property taxes would increase.
But the suit also claims that the district knew in advance that the ballot grossly understated the property tax increase.
“The board didn’t just understate the tax increase. It led voters to believe that the property tax increase would be only $37.40 per $100,000 of their property value when in reality, it would be $126.04 per $100,000! That is nearly three times more than they told taxpayers it would be,” said Tobin.
The district admitted that it did not use the state equalization factor. If it had, the factor would have accurately calculated the proposed increase’s taxpayer impact.
TUA has appealed the Mikva ruling, because if the ruling stands, taxpayers could be legally misled in future, in school districts across the State, as to estimated property tax increases. The appeal has been filed in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We will take this case to the Illinois Supreme Court if necessary”, stated Tobin. “In the meantime, we are dedicated to educating the citizens of Oak Park about the issue. So expect to see a flyer in your neighborhood!”
NOTE: 80% of District 97 spending goes to salaries and benefits. All of the recent 67% state income tax increase is being used to fund the lavish pensions of retired government teachers and other employees. To view the top 100 pensions and salaries of Oak Park Government School District 97, click here.