FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Senate Candidate Mike Babcock 618-972-2550
Babcock Opposes Property Tax Cost Shift;
Radogno Warns of January Surprise
(Glen Carbon, Illinois) In town to support State Senate Candidate Mike Babcock, the top Republican in the Illinois Senate is warning that 56th District taxpayers will see significantly higher property taxes if Governor Quinn gets his proposed “cost shift” during a January lame duck session, as Democrats are planning.
Babcock joined Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) in sounding the alarm, saying that proposed pension “reform” measures may actually be more about raising money for expanded state programs and less about reforming or fixing the state’s massive unfunded pension liabilities.
“The pension underfunding is a serious problem. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that,” Babcock said. “Illinois has the worst-funded retirement system in the nation. But allowing State government to off load the pension debt that Springfield politicians have racked up onto local property taxpayers is unacceptable. We cannot allow that to happen.”
Babcock pledged to oppose the plan that would raise local property taxes by shifting state costs to local school districts.
Radogno warned that she is seeing the same pattern develop this year that she saw two years ago, when Democrat candidates for the legislature pledged not to raise taxes and then after the election voted for a 67% income tax increase – the largest tax hike in state history.
“If Bill Haine says he won’t vote for the property tax increase…well, all I can say is that we heard the same thing about the income tax two years ago,” Radogno warned. “Remember the old saying, ‘fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’ I don’t want the taxpayers of the 56th district to be fooled twice.”
This year, she said, there is also a new twist and a new risk.
“Chicago legislators are fond of arguing that their school district covers a larger percentage of pension costs than downstate districts, but what they don’t mention is that when the entire system of funding schools is examined, the Chicago Public Schools may receive more than their fair share, even with the pension contribution factored in,” Radogno said.
Radogno explained that the antiquated state school aid formulas are already skewed to benefit Chicago by giving less weight to children in downstate school districts, than children in Chicago.
“Why should a child needing special education services in Alton deserve less than a child in Chicago with the same needs?” Babcock asked. “Yet, that is the way state funds are distributed. We have a skewed system and that system is designed to reward Chicago.”
Radogno added that, as proposed, the argument that costs ought to be shifted to local school districts so they have a stake in holding down pension costs is fundamentally flawed because it is the legislature, not the school districts that determine pension benefits.
“It sounds good, but the fact of the matter is, pushing the costs onto local school districts and then leaving the legislature in control of setting benefits is just an invitation for disaster,” Radogno said. “It means a property tax increase in downstate and suburban communities. It means a property tax hike everywhere but Chicago.”
“After their 67% income tax increase, the people of this district certainly cannot afford their property tax hike,” Babcock concluded.
Babcock has made job creation a top priority of his campaign for the Illinois Senate. A graduate of Roxana High School and SIU-E, Babcock said his experience as a small business owner gives him the perspective and experience needed to focus on job creation. His opponent is a lifelong politician who has been on the public payroll for nearly 25 years. Haine’s occasional employment outside of government has primarily been with trial lawyers.