by Claudia Balthazar, Will County Gazette
Property taxes are a burden to Illinois residents are a major result of poor revenue allocation by current state officials, Alyssia Benford, a Bolingbrook Republican seeking the seat held by Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) in the 98th House District, said.
“As a CPA (certified public accountant), the high property taxes in Illinois is the No. 1 complaint from my clients,” Benford told the Will County Gazette. “Many families are paying over $5,000 a year in property taxes alone.”
Benford believes that properly funding the public education system in Illinois would help with property taxes down the line.
“The school district must close the financial gap left by the lack of state funding received,” Benford said. “School districts must rely heavily on local property tax revenue to operate. …(Therefore) to properly fund the revenue needed to fund education, the state must find ways to operate more efficiently in other areas.”
Benford’s campaign is educating constituents about the impact of rising property taxes on their home value and equity in order to approach the issue effectively.
“We are informing voters of how their tax dollars are spent and where to find this information as well,” Benford said. “We are researching how other states address property taxes and education funding.”
Benford is also educating voters on how their vote can impact them throughout her campaign trail.
“We are explaining to taxpayers how the votes of some of the current elected officials have negatively impacted them,” Benford said. “We must require the state to fund education properly and limit their ability to continue to pass the education cost to taxpayers.”
“This is the only way we can restore home values and limit the amount of money families pay for property taxes,” Benford said. “The taxpayers must be the top priority for our elected officials.”
Concerned voters have voiced their concerns about not trusting current elected officials regarding the property tax issue, she said.
“I had one voter tell me that her husband lost his job and their biggest concern was not how to pay their mortgage, but how to pay their property taxes,” Benford said.
“As a practicing CPA for almost 25 years, I have the unique experience of reviewing this information every year with my tax clients that own property in Illinois,” Benford said. “In some parts of Illinois, home values have dropped significantly but property taxes have not.”
Due to high property taxes and many other tax hikes in the state, many Illinoisans have fled to neighboring states for better opportunities.
“Illinois property taxes are almost three times the national average … while homes in some of the suburbs south of Chicago are declining in value at an alarming rate and the property taxes are increasing,” Benford said.
Benford pointed out that property taxes are impacted directly by legislation passed in Springfield and that ineffective elected officials are not addressing the property tax issue which is why taxes are so high.
“Illinois residents are leaving our state in record numbers because our taxes are increasing and the residents are not receiving anything of value in exchange for the tax hikes,” she said.
But Benford hopes to fix that issue.
“I do hope for better tax solutions in the future,” she said. “Illinois spends more than they receive in revenue. As a result, they are not able to provide the appropriate funding to public education. Illinois must operate more efficiently and fund education properly before Illinois taxpayers will see any substantial relief.”
The 98th District covers all or parts of Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Joliet, Crest Hill and Shorewood.