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Democrats living in fiscal fantasy, Wirepoints founder says

Local Government

By Hoang Tran | Jul 16, 2017

Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon

A Democratically proposed four-year property tax freeze is little more than a fantasy to fix Illinois, Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon contends.

“It’s silly preposterous theater,” Glennon said on Illinois Rising recently. “It’s infuriating to see much of the press report this stuff as if it’s a serious policy proposal. Unfortunately, they can’t even pass a gimmick, which is all that four-year property tax freeze is.”

Glennon's comments came after the House failed to pass SB484, which would have imposed a four-year property tax freeze in Illinois with exceptions to Chicago and its schools and municipalities that use property tax revenue to pay pensions or debt.

While the bill was a product of Senate Democrats, Glennon found it aggravating that Republican lawmakers were joining the chorus, especially on legislation without true reforms.

“This is a big waste of time,” Glennon said. “Obviously, the Democrats bear primary responsibility for this, but it is getting very aggravating to see so many Republicans spewing nonsense about this. They talk about some of the budget proposals being balanced, but they’re not balanced. Far from it. The real deficit is two or three times what we are talking about. They talk about pension proposals going down as comprehensive pension reform. The Illinois GOP tweeted out, claiming that it’s going to freeze the deterioration of the pensions or at least keep them even. It won’t. It doesn’t even come close.”

Glennon asserted that the first step in solving the state’s problem, be it budget or property taxes, is “measuring it properly,” but lawmakers haven’t done that.

Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the nation, as well as severe budget and debt problems. While the General Assembly was able to pass a budget and spending plan — along with a 32 percent tax increase on taxpayers — Glennon and others don't believe it addresses the fundamental problems afflicting the state.

“Think about what those budget proposals don’t include: the worsening situation with the pensions," Glennon said. "That’s where the losses are stuffed historically. That’s another $3 billion to $6 billion right there — something to pay down the $14 billion in bills we have accrued. Accounts payables, basically. Nothing is in there for that. The Democrats are also pushing at the same time the school funding proposal, which I’ve seen estimates of cost ranging from anywhere from $300 million to $800 million. Where is that in the budget proposal? I don’t think that is in there, either. We’re debating fiction here. The whole narrative is fiction.”

Glennon asserted that Illinois has impossible problems driving its financial crisis. He said a budget won’t solve the problems, which are “accelerating and compressing.”

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