Taxpayer Alert

Home Rule is Home Ruin

From the Taxpayer Education Foundation

“Home Rule means Home Ruin.”
– Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF).

In 1970, Illinois adopted a new constitution that designated any municipality with a population greater than 25,000 as a home rule unit. In addition, municipalities can vote to adopt Home Rule, or repeal Home Rule if they already have it. “Illinois Home Rule gives unlimited taxing power to bureaucrats,” said Jim Tobin, President of Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF).

In some cases, Home Rule even takes away citizens’ right to vote on vital city issues and limits citizens’ voice in government mayoral and council elections. “Taxpayers are effectively muzzled, except at election time, and even then, their choices are limited,” according to Tobin.

The Constitution of the United States of America does not mention local governments. Local governments are created by and regulated by the states. This means that to speak about cities or other forms of local government in the United States is to speak about fifty different legal and political situations.

The Illinois version of so-called Home Rule strips citizens of control over local politicians’ power to tax, to regulate, and to incur debt. The Illinois version denies citizens the right to have a local charter or constitution to protect taxpayers from abuse or incompetence by office holders and from the hazard of easy access to public funds for developers, lawyers, bankers, and government workers.

Illinois bypasses the people of the community and puts all the power of local government into the hands of politicians. That’s why students of government and political science have described the Illinois version of so-called home rule as the most insidious form of government anywhere in the United States of America. It is government by personality instead of government by principle.

Without the controls of a local charter or constitution, and with citizens stripped of their right to vote on city issues, so-called Home Rule in Illinois empowers politicians to:

1) Raise taxes without citizen permission.
2) Impose new taxes in the form of fees, licenses, and regulations.
3) Expedite seizures of private property.
4) Give city property to private interests without competitive bidding.
5) Take greater control over citizens’ lives, livelihoods, property, and liberty.

The solution: Local taxpayer groups in Home Rule municipalities need to mount a massive educational campaign to alert the taxpayers in their areas, and must run a well-organized petition drive to place the issue of repealing Home Rule on the local ballot. Taxpayers United of America has used TEF’s Home Rule research to educate the public for nearly four decades, resulting in 206 victoriesagainst Home Rule in Illinois. Dismantling Home Rule unlimited taxing power will take research, education, and organization to fight back against the bureaucrats – but it can be done.

*This synopsis is largely based on an excellent, extremely thorough analysis of Home Rule by John Gile, who was the chief spokesperson for the repeal movement in 1983 that repealed Home Rule in Rockford, IL.

The full report can be found at http://citydesk.us/homerule.html

 

Democrat Hack Zalewski Prevents TUA Spokesman Zimnicki From Testifying At Committee Hearing

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CHICAGO—The Chairman of the Illinois Revenue & Finance Committee, Democrat hack and Madigan puppet, Michael J. Zalewski (D-23, Riverside), refused to allow TUA Director of Outreach, Val Zimnicki, to testify against the proposed state Income Tax Increase Amendment at a Chicago hearing on Wednesday, May 2. This bill, HR 1025, filed by Ill. House Speaker and Chicago machine boss Michael J. Madigan (D-22, Chicago) calls for a graduated state income tax increase for Illinois.
Zimnicki was registered to be among those giving oral testimony in opposition to this state tax increase.
Over 2150 witness slips had been filed to present oral testimony, written testimony, or have record of appearance in opposition to this huge state tax increase.
Zalewski allowed only supporters of the bill to testify before the committee. No speakers opposed to the income tax increase were able to testify, and Zimnicki initially was informed that he was not on the list to testify. After further questioning, it was revealed that he was indeed on the list, but was not given a date and time. It was stated that if TUA was to be heard, it would likely be in Springfield, IL, a 200-mile trip from the May 2 meeting in Chicago.
Zalewski also is a chief co-sponsor of HR 1025. This abuse of power occurred with the support of notorious Taxpayer Traitor David Harris (R-53, Mt. Prospect), who was the Republican Spokesperson for the Committee and who voted to raise the Illinois State Income Tax by $5 Billion dollars.
Despite this silencing of Taxpayers, TUA will continue to spread its message of opposition to higher taxes to fund lavish, gold plated pensions for retired government employees. The Director of Outreach’s written statement can be found below.
“Honorable Chair, and members of the Revenue and Finance Committee, I am Val Zimnicki, Director of Outreach for Taxpayers United of America.
As I look down the road toward retirement, I am struck by how unfair the current Illinois pension system is to the middle class.
As someone who works in the private sector, the most retirement income I can look forward to is about $17,000, from Social Security—if I am lucky to get that much.
In contrast, retired government employees receive lavish, gold-plated retirement benefits, and, as an Illinois taxpayer, I am forced to pay for these benefits through the state income tax.
The current, unsustainable state pension system has created many pension millionaires among retired government employees.
Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R), no friend of taxpayers, is rolling in money, thanks to these Illinois government-employee pension plans. Mr. Edgar gets an Illinois General Assembly pension of $166,000 per year, a State University Retirement System pension of $83,000 per year, and is currently hired-back “part-time” by the University of Illinois for another $62,796 per year—pulling in more than $312,000 per year.
Former Governor Edgar is a pension millionaire. Former Governor Quinn (D) is a pension millionaire. Former Governor Thompson (R) is a pension millionaire. These three so-called ‘public servants’ are going to receive a total of $11,388,000 in pension payouts over their expected lifetimes.
I am paying for their extravagant retirements, because most of the money from the recent state income tax increase is being poured into the insolvent state pension funds that send monthly checks to them.
The State of Illinois is functionally bankrupt, and government-employee pensions are to blame.
Illinois taxpayers are voting with their feet. In 2017, the number of people moving from Illinois to states with lower taxes outstripped arrivals by 115,000. And it will get a lot uglier if the proposed state Income Tax Increase Amendment is passed.
If the state income tax, now a flat tax, is converted to a graduated state income tax, the exodus from Illinois by the middle class will become a stampede. The state will literally go under financially.
It is impossible for the state to tax itself out of its current downward spiral. There is not enough money to go around to pay for its current unfunded pension liabilities of more than $130,000 billion.
There is a solution, and it also involves a state constitutional amendment. The current Constitution must be amended to allow for reasonable decreases in pension benefits for retired government employees.
In addition, all new government hires must be placed in 401(k)-style pension plans, so there will be no increases in the current unfunded pension liabilities.
Thank you for your attention.”
 

Representative Skillicorn Accuses East Dundee of Covering Up Financial Fraud

After receiving delays and denials to Open Records requests from the Village of East Dundee, I have grown convinced that something is seriously wrong, and questions need to be asked.
Since the Chicago Tribune-Courier News report, “Officials: East Dundee finances on road to recovery” (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-east-dundee-finances-st-1108-20171107-story.html) back in November, I have been making inquiries of my own. In the article, the Courier reported on “financial irregularities” that occurred under former Administrator Bob Skurla’s watch. Here are a few of the more disturbing quotes:

  • “East Dundee is taking steps to offset financial irregularities that include overstated revenue, excessive spending and a lack of budgetary controls, East Dundee Village President Lael Miller said….”
  • “‘There were several things that raised my eyebrows,” Miller said.
  • “There were several problems that I would categorize as accounting issues,” Miller said. “The way some monies were accounted for was not exactly clear.”
  • “He [Miller] then met with Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen and Finance Director Zaida Torres, who raised their own concerns.”
  • “There were some spending patterns and other items the board wasn’t aware of,” Miller said.

“What in the world is going on in East Dundee and why hasn’t the former Administrator, Bob Skurla, been prosecuted? If wrongdoing has taken place and the Village doesn’t prosecute, they won’t be able to access municipal insurance for restitution which would be a monumental failure of their fiduciary duty to taxpayers. In addition, if Skurla is found guilty, his pension should be taken away.”
If that isn’t disturbing enough, in a conversation I had with the current Village Administrator, Jennifer Johnsen–who was fired from her previous position with Campton Hills in 2016 for alleged Open Meetings Act issues–she stated that Skurla kept “two sets of books” and misrepresented finances with the board. Administrator Johnsen blamed Skurla for the $33 Million in debt according to the 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (if police pension debt is included, the Village of East Dundee population 3182, has over $40 Million of debt). The specter of Dixon, Illinois’ Rita Crundwell $54M financial fraud is rising as a pattern of obstruction from the Village of East Dundee is growing. Timeline of my personal investigation:

  • November 2017 – The Chicago Tribune-Courier News article first exposed the fraud allegations
  • December 2017 – My conversation with Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen where she blames the $33 Million in debt and financial fraud on Bob Skurla.
  • January and February 2018 Open Meetings Act violations by the village (being investigated by the IL Attorney General).
  • February Freedom 2018 of Information requests being denied because emails between Bob Skurla and Trustees were deleted.
  • March 2018 Freedom of Information requests being delayed and denied looking for evidence between East Dundee Finance Director Torres and Administrator Johnsen. These denials are being investigated by the IL Attorney General.

“I have asked for and received notice that the Attorney General’s Office is investigating the denial of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. There is also an Open Meetings Act (OMA) violation that is being pursued. Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard along with a press that will hold them accountable. Again, I have to ask, what is going on in East Dundee and what are they trying to hide?”
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State Representative
Allen Skillicorn
 
 

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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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