Skillicorn’s first priority: Make it harder to raise property taxes

By Carol Ostrow

Algonquin Township residents can add another item to their seasonal to-do lists — filing property tax assessment appeals by Dec. 23 — unless state Rep.-elect Allen Skillicorn’s (R-Crystal Lake) initial steps to extend that deadline take root quickly.

Recently elected to represent the 66th state House District, Skillicorn isn’t waiting until his scheduled January swearing-in ceremony to make a difference. With McHenry County and Algonquin Township property taxes among the highest in the nation, the current East Dundee trustee — who plans to relinquish that position come January — wasted no time in implementing steps to change the scenario for northern Illinois home and business property owners.

Skillicorn’s first step was to introduce a pair of proposals. The first would mandate that municipalities hold public hearings before raising property taxes, while the second requests an extension of the deadline to file appeals an extra 30 days, increasing the total time span to 60 days.

At present, the Prairie State’s tax code contains a clause allowing villages, towns and cities to hike tax rates without public “Truth in Taxation” hearings if the rate increase is 5 percent or lower.

“Illinois’ tax-cap law has too many loopholes,” Skillicorn said. “One that hits homeowners in McHenry and Kane Counties the hardest is when the tax rate goes up when our home values stagnate. It was wrong when our home values plummeted in 2009-12, but our property taxes keep going up.”

Skillicorn said that despite no great surge in home values, property tax bills continue to increase on an annual basis.

“I’ve always advocated for doing more with less,” Skillicorn said. “Let’s provide high-quality services at the lowest cost. The residents deserve to hear how these property tax hikes will affect their bottom line before politicians vote to hike taxes.”

Skillicorn initiated the second of his two bills to give homeowners ample time to obtain independent assessments of their property, usually accomplished with the assistance of professional real estate lawyers.

“Property taxes are too high, and Algonquin Township residents are required to file appeals one day before Christmas Eve,” Skillicorn said. “(Homeowners) cannot afford to pay a professional to file on their behalf like a big corporation would. The holiday season is already busy enough. Local officials should not take advantage of the holiday and slip the deadline in just before Christmas. I hope to change this type of practice by giving homeowners more time to complete their appeal paperwork.”

The topic of property taxes is not new to the Skillicorn. As a trustee for the village of East Dundee, he worked hard to instill such reforms locally and convinced the board first to freeze rate — a freeze that has remained in place for the past five years — then successfully promoted more transparency for the benefit of his constituents.

Specifically, Skillicorn ensured that key local data, including financial records, were posted systematically on the village’s website, promoting transparency and accountability among civic leaders. He emphasized repeatedly during his candidacy how property taxes were “crushing homeowners and businesses across Illinois.”

Additionally, his East Dundee district was the first jurisdiction to pass Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda — intended to reduce union power and increase leverage for small businesses — which also included tax freezes.

During the campaign season, the Chicago Tribune endorsed Skillicorn, describing him as “the most outspoken about the need to blow up the status quo in Springfield.”

Skillicorn grew up in Algonquin and now lives in East Dundee with his wife, Heather.

FeaturedAlgonquin Township Property Tax Appeal Deadline 12/23

Deadline Friday December 23rd, 2016

Algonquin Township area property tax assessments were recently published in the newspaper as required by law. There is only a 30 day window every year to appeal your property assessment. Once this deadline is passed, the next opportunity will not be until next year. The deadline to appeal your 2017 assessment is December 23rd, 2016.

Why Defined Benefits Can’t Work

by Ted Dabrowski | Illinois Policy Institute

Flaws of the defined benefit system are really at the core of the state’s pension problems.


Jim Edgar's Pension Ramp has forced billions of debt on every man, woman, and child in Illinois.

Jim Edgar’s Pension Ramp has forced billions of debt on every man, woman, and child in Illinois.

One of the most common narratives regarding the pension crisis in Illinois is that the state’s five pension systems are underfunded because politicians “skipped” pension payments. This narrative has prompted legislators to add to pension reform proposals a “funding guarantee” they say will prevent the pension crisis from repeating itself in the future.

Grafton Township Property Tax Appeal Deadline 11/7

Grafton area property tax assessments were recently published in the newspaper as required by law. There is only a 30 day window every year to appeal your property assessment. Once this deadline is passed, the next opportunity will not be until next year. The deadline to appeal your 2017 assessment is November 7th, 2016.

Policy Group Proposes State Pension Go To 401k

By Benjamin Yount, Illinois Watchdog

Illinois’ $90B pension debt can either be paid by reforming the system or long-term tax increases.

As Illinois lawmakers struggle to find a way to manage a nearly $8 billion pension payment, $9 billion in unpaid bills and a $130 billion pension debt, one policy group this week said it had some simple solutions. The biggest change in The Illinois Policy Institute’s proposed budget would immediately switch Illinois’ five pension systems from defined benefit plans to a 401(k) style retirement system, where the employee manages his own money.

“Everything (public employees) have earned up until today they would keep,” said state Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, who wrote the pension proposal at the heart of the institute’s budget. “This makes so much sense to people back home. It is a simple plan; it doesn’t need to be a 300-page piece of legislation,” Morrison said Thursday.

Illinois has been trying to contain the skyrocketing costs of its pension plans, but lawmakers can’t agree on a single plan. There is also the question of which plan would survive a court challenge. Illinois has a constitutional guarantee that pension benefits will not be reduced.

Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman said anything that passes the Legislature will end up in court, anyway, so he’s not worried about the Institute’s plan.

Chicago Tribune endorses Allen Skillicorn for State Representative

I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune. Proves that the people of Illinois have the will to reform our state! #IL66

“66th District: Republican Allen Skillicorn has an important characteristic that makes him Springfield-ready: He led a movement to freeze the tax levy in East Dundee, where he is a trustee. He understands the urgency to enact policy changes that make Illinois friendlier for businesses and residents. He faces Nancy Zettler, D-Algonquin, an attorney who says she’s running to represent the middle class and end “corporate welfare.” Maybe she doesn’t realize most of the corporate giveaways during the last decade in this state were handed out by Democrats, not by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Skillicorn is endorsed.”

Lowering Illinois Property Taxes Through Consolidation

Absurdly high property taxes demand bold reforms from Illinois lawmakers. New recommendations from a state task force show exactly what kind.

by Austin Berg

Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the nation, but it’s likely the state will take the No. 1 spot in taxing homeowners very soon. For too many Illinois families, property taxes have become a second mortgage they can never pay off.