Trick bag. No property tax relief in sight

Once again the Democrat-controlled House brought sham legislation to a vote for the sole purpose of putting Republican lawmakers in a trick bag and embarrassing the new Governor.

House Republicans have long worked to provide Illinoisans with much needed and deserved property tax relief. Each year members of the House Republican Caucus introduce legislation that would deliver property tax relief and each year the Democrats block those measures. The real roadblock to property tax relief has been the Democrat-controlled legislature.

It is not without merit that House Republicans question the majority leadership’s commitment to property tax relief, when out of the clear blue sky they embrace so-called property tax freeze legislation that neither includes reforms nor guarantees that property taxes won’t increase. It is not hard to draw the accurate conclusion that it is just more political theatre.

After being sworn-into office, Governor Rauner took action to address high property taxes. He assembled a bipartisan working group to look holistically at thoughtful reforms that would provide meaningful property tax relief without strangling schools and local governments. The group is considering unfunded mandates, pensions and other factors impacting costs that keep property taxes high. Once the working group completes its assessment, they will bring their work product to the proper standing committee for a full hearing – provided the Democrat leadership permits it to get that far.

After Republicans voted present on an amendment to a bill going nowhere, State Representative Ron Sandack called for HB136, a property tax relief measure he filed early in session, to be released from the Rules Committee where the Democrats have kept it bottled up for the entire session. Sandack’s legislation, a carefully crafted, measured approach to property tax reform targeting homeowners who have lost value on their homes, was immediately dismissed through draconian House rules that provide the majority party a defense against virtually any legislation they don’t like.

Once again the majority leadership in the Illinois House showed why nothing gets accomplished in Springfield. Republicans stood together with Governor Rauner, casting a “present” vote to express their disdain with the process.