Reis primary opponent fed up with lack of reform, high property taxes
A new Illinois Policy Institute report detailing how property taxes are far outpacing population growth, inflation and the economy serves as a reminder to Darren Bailey of why he’s entering politics.
“The status quo is simply not working,” Bailey told the Southeast Illinois News. “It is a shame that this state has eroded so much in the past 13 years under the current leadership. Career politicians have run our state in the ground.”
The report also found that by 2013 Illinois residents carried a property tax burden that was 76 percent higher than it was a little more than two decades earlier. Overall, property taxes are now the single largest tax in state, with the government collecting as much as $27 billion in revenue as recently as 2013.
Still, state lawmakers moved to recently enact a $36.1 billion budget that carries a record-setting permanent tax increase.
That was enough to move Bailey, a career farmer, to do something he’s never done before: run for office.
“Career politicians voted to raise income taxes by 32 percent, and they did not even enact one meaningful reform,” Bailey, who will go up against Rep. Dave Reis (R-Willow Hill) in the 109th District primary, said. “We won’t get anywhere as long as the tax and spend career politicians remain in Springfield. We need new leadership in Springfield.”
Over the last century, Illinois property taxes have grown 2.5 times faster than inflation and 14 times faster than the population. In addition, since 1990, residential property taxes have grown 3.3 times faster than median household incomes.
U.S. Census data show Illinois now has the sixth-highest average property tax rate in the country and, at an average of 2.32 percent, the second-highest effective property tax rate, behind only New Jersey.
“Illinois has nearly 7,000 units of local government,” Bailey said. “All of these units of local government have to be funded, and as a result, the state and local tax burden is higher than all other states. One of the first things we need to do is reduce the layers of government we have in Illinois.”
Bailey said one of the biggest reasons he wants to go to Springfield is to return Illinois to its former glory.
“We need to implement business reforms to bring more jobs to Illinois, which will grow the tax base and make it easier to lower the overall tax burden for families and individuals,” he said. “The longer we refuse to give businesses and families reasons to stay, the more migration out of Illinois we are going to see.”
The 109th District includes Wayne, Edwards and Wabash counties.