WTAX News Radio|New Census Data Shows an Exodus out of Cook County

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Taxpayers United of America’s (TUA) Director of Operations, Jared Labell was mentioned by WTAX News Radio on Cook County’s population decline.

As Cook County taxes rise, taxpayers in the Chicago area are choosing to vote with their dollars and deciding to leave, according to Taxpayers United of America.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday indicates the state’s largest county is declining in population. Between 2014 and 2015, 10,500 residents left Cook County. That’s the largest population decline among counties nationwide, according to the Census Bureau, and the first population decline in the county since 2007.
Jared Labell, director of operations for Taxpayers United of America, says the county’s continual tax increases have left certain residents with no choice.
“Chicago, in an effort to raise revenue to pay for their financial misgivings over the years as well as the pensions, they’re taxing residents out of the city,” Labell said.
He adds that tax increases in Cook County, including property taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes and even taxes on Internet streaming services like Netflix, have prompted some residents to pack their bags.
“Taxpayers are being hit hard and so they’re making that choice to vote with their feet and leave,” Labell said. “And we’re seeing that also throughout the state of Illinois, unfortunately.”
Census figures also show 6,300 residents left the Chicago metropolitan area, the first population decrease in the city since 1990. Labell says residents who are leaving the area are moving to surrounding suburbs, neighboring states like Wisconsin and Indiana, and even moving to more taxpayer-friendly states like Florida and Texas.

Daily Herald|How Roselle District 12 won its $500 tax increase

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Taxpayers United of America (TUA) was mentioned by the Daily Herald about their opposition to the Roselle District 12 tax increase.

When Roselle Elementary District 12 officials decided to seek a substantial tax increase during a presidential primary, the proposal seemed almost certain to fizzle.

Most government bodies tend to avoid placing such hot-button proposals on the ballot in prominent elections such as Tuesday’s primary. With higher turnout — and many voters backing anti-establishment candidates in the presidential race — proposed tax increases seem doomed to fail.

But District 12 bucked that trend when voters approved a property tax increase that will cost the owner of a $250,000 home about $500 more a year. Unofficial tallies show almost 56.4 percent of voters favored the hike.

“I still can’t believe it today,” Superintendent Melissa Kaczkowski said Wednesday.

The revenue will help pay for repairs in the district’s two 1960s-era schools and help fix its finances after years of budget deficits.

“We ramped up the message in terms of how serious and how urgent this was at the beginning of this school year,” said Kaczkowski, who cautioned that the district could face cuts to student programs and bigger class sizes if the tax increase was denied.

Kaczkowski also credits the approval in part to an active group of supporters who pushed for the district’s first operating tax revenue increase in more than 30 years.

Here’s a look at their winning strategy.

Targeting neighborhoods

A steering committee with only about eight core members and “a shoestring budget” of roughly $4,000 organized the referendum campaign by Save Our Schools, member and parent Steve Zurek said. But dozens of volunteers still managed to personally visit more than 1,100 households, he said.

Having a dedicated group that mobilized around the issue likely “made a difference in what really should have been an anti-tax election,” said Constance Mixon, an Elmhurst College political science professor and director of the schools’ urban studies program.

Those one-on-one conversations with neighbors are more effective than mailers at getting out the vote, Mixon said.

The group included a Democratic precinct committeeman who opened up access to voter databases so volunteers could target their message, primarily to Democrats, seniors, renters and parents in the district, Zurek said.

“We wanted the community to start talking with one another,” he said.

Low-profile opposition?

“Vote No” signs popped up in the weeks before Tuesday’s primary and several Facebook pages against the increase were created anonymously, but they garnered only a handful of “likes.”

“They certainly were hiding in the shadows,” Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski said of opponents.

A Chicago group, Taxpayers United of America, also urged voters to reject the increase, saying the district should instead pursue cuts and consolidation and calling employee salaries “lavish.”

But Smolinski said supporters kept a visible presence.

Teacher deal

About a month before Tuesday’s primary, the school board accepted an offer by the teachers union to freeze cost-of-living pay increases for one year and save the district about $35,000. Both sides also agreed to delay negotiations on a new contract — previously set to expire in June — for one year.

Union leaders say they made the offer to build support for the tax increase.

“Not only am I voting ‘yes’ myself, but I also have to do my part as a teacher,” union Vice President Terri Schoen said at the time.

The agreement, Kaczkowski said Wednesday, “created a lot of momentum with teachers,” many of whom live in town and knocked on doors in support of the tax increase.

“It wasn’t a huge financial piece of the puzzle, but it was absolutely their investment in this and their willingness to offer something voluntarily,” she said.

Looking ahead

Kaczkowski said the district initially struggled to get people in the door to hear about its plan to shore up its finances.

But after blasting automated calls out to parents, more than 300 people attended a fall forum in the district where Kaczkowski and two principals are the only administrators.

She says the district will remain “diligent” about getting people’s input about spending, adding that a parent advisory committee will begin meeting in the coming weeks.

They have more than a year to plan before the district starts to receive the new revenue.

“Ongoing communication and accountability is key,” Kaczkowski said. ” … That’s certainly a piece we don’t want to lose.”

McHenry Times|With primary win secured, Allen Skillicorn vows to continue fight against Mike Madigan in House

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Tax Accountability’s, the political action arm of Taxpayers United of America (TUA), endorsement of Allen Skillicorn was mentioned by McHenry Times.

In the four-candidate race for House Representative in District 66 that became a three-candidate race at the 11th hour, Allen Skillicorn emerged as the winner of the Republican primary on March 15.
“I am feeling good,” Skillicorn told the McHenry Times. “We are excited about finally being able to publicly declare victory.”
The East Dundee trustee and vice-chair for the Kane County Republican Party said he personally knocked on more than 10,000 doors, and talked to voters about property tax relief and the need for Republicans to stand up to House Speaker Mike Madigan — a message Skillicorn said was very well received.
Now that all the signs and campaign litter has been cleared up, Skillicorn said it’s time to continue the conversation about Madigan and the state of Illinois.
“The next stop is continuing to talk to voters and raise awareness about what Speaker Madigan is doing in Springfield,” Skillicorn said. “Currently the House is on spring break until April and the fact is we need a budget; the fact is we need pension reform; the fact is we need significant financial and business reforms to get the Illinois economy going; and Mike Madigan refuses to advance those issues. He also refuses to even schedule the House to meet.”
Skillicorn, who claimed approximately 33.04 percent of the votes in McHenry and Kane counties, will face off against Democratic challenger Nancy Zeller in November for retiring State Rep. Mike Tryon’s seat.
“She’ll be able to get some financial resources and she has some fans in the area, but at the end of the day she has a track record of raising property taxes,” Skillicorn said. “She supports Mike Madigan and she supports Madigan’s tax increases. I don’t think the voters of the 66th District are going to be able to identify with those issues.”
Curtailing property taxes has been the hallmark of Skillicorn’s campaign. Skillicorn was elected as East Dundee trustee in 2011 and fought to keep property taxes from rising. His efforts ultimately helped lower village property taxes per home.
The marketing director signed the Tax Accountability Taxpayer Protection Pledge on July 10, 2015, and has been endorsed by Tax Accountability, the political action arm of Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
In addition to solving property tax problems, Skillicorn wants to help promote accountability in Springfield and believes term limits for elected officials would greatly reduce corruption in government.
For now, Skillicorn is grateful for voters’ support and promises to be their voice in Springfield.
“I just want to thank people for their support, and we plan on taking the fight to Mr. Madigan,” Skillicorn said.



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. s.


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