Over-taxed Oak Park citizens petition for relief

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

A petition calling on Oak Park taxing bodies not to capture funds from the expiration of the Madison Street and Downtown Oak Park TIFs is half-way to reaching its 500-signature goal.

Village board meeting regular Kitty Conklin started the Change.org petition Nov. 20. Conklin is a leading force in the battle against increased taxation.

"The TIF funds are not being taken because there is a NEED; they are being taken because they CAN be taken," the petition reads. "Our leaders were elected to do the RIGHT thing, not merely what's legal."

The petition may have hit a nerve as the number of signatures is racking up quickly.

Stacey Sheridan

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Reader Comments

27 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Neal Buer  

Posted: November 27th, 2019 12:15 AM

Dave Slade, the taxing bodies never missed out. The taxpayers always made up the difference, so the taxing bodies were fully funded by the increase the taxpayers paid to make up for the monies diverted to the TIFs. The remaining money should go back to the taxpayers in the form of reduced levies.

Leslie Sutphen  

Posted: November 26th, 2019 10:46 PM

@Corey Gimbel Why is it painful because the "wimmens" are circulating this petition. What an extraordinarily sexist comment. Would it be less painful if the "mens" were doing it?

Corey Gimbel from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2019 10:08 PM

Whewwwww Dan the wimmens are kicking your butt up and down the street. that must be painful

Dave Slade from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2019 12:04 AM

There is no reason whatsoever that there should be TIFs in OP. These TIFs are set up to improve blighted areas, of which there are none in OP. And when the TFs expire, those taxing bodies that have been shorted for the past 23 years or however long the TIF has run, which is a ridiculous amount of time, they want their slice of the pie they have missed out on. I can't blame them, but also, perhaps these taxing entities could show some good faith and decline to take the money, especially D200. Going forward, any mention of new TIFs should be argued vehemently by residents, voted on and canned, just like the Imagine OPRF plan. Oh, wait........

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 24th, 2019 6:15 PM

Mikhail Ivanov you can wait for a vote or send a message by going to http://chng.it/9gdncgmK which was started by a woman who really follows taxes. Let your neighbor's know to if they want to let the board members know that taxes are causing people to change where they would like to stay

Mikhail Ivanov  

Posted: November 24th, 2019 5:11 PM

I despise Trump, and merely want to stay living in Oak Park which becomes more difficult every time my property taxes increase. I moved here knowing taxes were high, and I was willing to give for quality of life. But the increases have been beyond ridiculous and there's no sign of relief with the hacks we have on local Boards bleeding us all dry. The arrogance and lack of caring for others is disturbing really. WE MUST VOTE THEM ALL OUT. All the rest is just talk.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 24th, 2019 3:06 PM

Maybe people do not know that the link to go to is http://chng.it/9gdncgmK if you want to let the Village know to lower taxes or it shows how much people really do not care about lowering taxes or think they do not want to be part of a petition to lower taxes. It seems like everyone would be signing the petition although this example of not getting involved may explain why there is a low voter turn out which people running for election can count on

Nick Polido  

Posted: November 24th, 2019 12:10 PM

The smug posts equating comments on this petition to right wing Trumpers or back seat theater dwellers is amusing. Our village has overwhelmingly voted for any politician with a D next to it. Out local political leaders then elect Mike Madigan as their supreme leader.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 10:04 PM

William Dwyer Jr. Thank you for including Tommy Mac with your reply to Ramona Lopez. I do not recall one time that Ramona Lopez has written anything that was not realistic. If you would like people to start a fund for you to continue watch NetFlix, I think several people would not mind paying for it to keep you occupied along with throwing in a sack of peanuts

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 8:39 PM

Glad your network is back up and running Mr. Dwyer. You're smart. You figure it out.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 7:56 PM

I'm confused here, Ms. Lopez. Are you saying my morality is :"pseudo" or the supposed soap box I'm standing on is so? Please, clarify, if you will. You and Tommy Mac tend to write rather ambiguously. Ah! My VPN is allowing Netflix back on my computer. Talk more tomorrow.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 7:16 PM

What I never understood is why people like Mr. Lauber and Mr. Dwyer, who agrees with his "argument" don't willingly write additional checks since they think the schools, park districts, libraries, etc. don't have enough revenue. I mean why wait for our lovely elected officials to mandate it? Why not take the high road, start a capital campaign and gather all your friends who don't think we are taxed enough and raise some money for these institutions you think are so underfunded? No, instead they rather stand on their pseudo moralistic soap box and point fingers at the peanut gallery like 2nd class citizens as if we don't have the intellect to make decisions and they know "what's best" for all of us. Lastly, Mr. Lauber mentioned in his comment how gov't needs additional revenues like households. I wonder how many households in Oak Park have had their income rise as fast as our property taxes. I'm surprised Mr. Dwyer couldn't see all the gaping holds in Mr. Lauber's "argument".

Shakti Saty from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 5:30 PM

I don't think Dan Lauber read the petition. He thinks it's just for village government. Why else would he not know that the schools are also included in the petition? It's ALL taxing bodies. And Mr. Lauber has a self-interest in keeping the tax dollars flowing in to municipalities since he makes his living suing them for allegedly not following ordinances. As others have FACTUALLY pointed out, Oak Park's taxing bodies have not foregone one dime of revenues (tax dollars). They have levied over and beyond what they have needed, year after year through tax loop holes (D200), referendums (D97, Library, Park District), and miscalculations that they refused to correct (D97). And the schools have already been collecting most of TIF funds for a while. Dan Lauber moved to River Forest from Oak Park over 35 years ago, yet still wants to insert himself in to our village as some kind of expert, spreading his manure in Village chambers, on the pages of this paper, and now in the comments section. And his tactic is call those actually impacted by the decisions of OP's elected officials ?"the residents and business owners of Oak Park (neither of which Mr. Lauber is)?""radical right Trump worshippers." Stay classy, Daniel.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 5:23 PM

I'll respond fully tomorrow, McCoy. First, some homework for you - look up the term "peanut gallery." After you do, if you do, you'll realize 'm not calling anyone a "peanut," as comfortable as I am with calling people names. More later.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 5:10 PM

William Dwyer Jr. You refer to others as the peanut gallery so if people do not have thick skin they will decide not to express their opinion because it is wrong according to you since, "some people never let facts get in their way". That fact is really a fact regardless how you want to deny others of expressing their opinions by making them feel like they are peanut's in a gallery. I would suggest maybe not name calling and just stating you facts or supporting others facts that agree with yours would be a better way at allowing everyone to write their opinions without being called a peanut in a gallery

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 2:00 PM

I can't even begin to respond to your post until you explain what you mean by "deny others of their opinions," McCoy.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 11:56 AM

William Dwyer Jr. Why would you give the impression that others do not have facts because if I recall, Mr. Haley wrote about this, and I agree with his thoughts about how all of these groups are grabbing for the money. Of course my comprehension may have caused me to understand what he wrote incorrectly, although if I recall correctly there has never been any school board member deny about the 100 million being kept by District 200, so I think what you are doing is calling out, Fake News or willing to deny others of their opinions although it is alright as long as other opinions agree with you

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2019 10:10 AM

The actual problem is that there are people like Dan Lauber who think blaming any group other than the one actually raising the taxes at the moment matters. Library raising taxes? Blame the state. And so on. No Dan. We do not need lame explanations, we need the groups (which includes the schools) who are grabbing the tax dollars to stop doing so. They already have enough.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 10:53 PM

Welcome to the online peanut gallery, Dan. You'd best grow a thick skin, skin if you care to express yourself here, in a place where no matter how well you make an argument. some people "never let facts get in their way."

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 8:26 PM

Let's put things in perspective for Mr. Lauber. He lives in a home with a zillow estimate right under $700K and pays around $14K a year in property taxes. In 1999, his taxes were $8,200. I live in a home with a zillow estimate of $247K and my taxes have gone from $2,900 to $8,500 in the same period. I'm sure Mr. Lauber would be singing a different tune if his taxes tripled instead of only going up 75% during the same period. He also has no problem accepting the 2 deductions and appealing his taxes as well. As a lawyer who has claimed to champion racial integration, I would think he would have the wherewithal to see how exponential tax growth negatively impacts diversity. Perhaps he is a closet right winger/Trump worshipper who wants Oak Park to be more like Hinsdale or River Forest.

Kitty Conklin  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 7:39 PM

Mr. Lauber, are you the same Dan Lauber who wrote an article last year supporting Daniel Biss for governor? Just want to be sure i don't have you confused with someone else.. I got a good chuckle out of "typical anti-government radical rightwing tactic aimed at crippling governments by denying them the increased revenues they need to cover increased costs". Anti government? No. Radical? No. Rightwing? No. Cripple these governments? Are you kidding? They need to cover increased costs? No. This petition fully supports all the Oak Park taxing bodies increasing Property taxes at rates closely resembling the rate of inflation, enabling costs to be covered. Let's hope the next 23 or so years of your new TIFs don't slam you and your fellow River Forest neighbors and taxpayers as has happened here on our side of Harlem.

Amanda Poppenk Massie from Oak park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 7:07 PM

Dan, what are you talking about. I certainly didn't see you at the D200 meeting last night til 11:30pm to see what the OPRF Board was going to vote on regarding the TIF money. They don't need the money. That money belongs to the taxpayers who taxes were put into those 2 TIFs. None of the taxing bodies are or have been hurting for money and the Referendums asked for have passed. This tax money belongs to the citizens not the taxing bodies. We all deserve some tax relief.

Amanda Poppenk Massie from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 6:59 PM

Dan, what on earth are you talking about? It's a petition to let people know and give them a voice regarding the "money grab" by our taxing bodies. The referendums requested during the TIFs have been granted, the taxing bodies aren't wanting for anything. The money should go to the taxpayers for tax relief.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 6:02 PM

Dan Lauber lets set up tif funding for home owners to lower the taxes since the tif money that was given to build businesses which in turn would lower taxes did not work. As for schools in Oak Park, there is 100 million just sitting in a pot of gold and more to come and the rest of the increase's that the government does not pick up is being paid by the tax payers for constantly new positions that are suppose to remove common sense and resolve problems so no one has to face and resolve the problems with common sense. That is not right wing thinking. Right wing thinking is get what you can for yourself and everyone else is on their own. Left wing thinking is lets help each other, and since that is not working in Oak Park, there is a very good chance to let the takers know that the givers have reached a point of not being able to afford anymore

Dan Lauber  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 5:10 PM

While I've never been a fan of TIF districts, this petition shows an incredible disingenuous misrepresentation of the whole purpose of TIF districts. The basic idea of TIF districts was to use increased property tax revenues during the existence of the TIF to fund improvements. Once the TIF expires, the various taxing districts are supposed to receive the increased tax revenues they had been foregoing for 23+ years. This demagogue style petition is a typical anti-government radical rightwing tactic aimed at crippling governments by denying them the increased revenues they need to cover increased costs -- just like businesses and households need to cover increased costs. The actual problem with property taxes continues to be the failure of our state government to fully fund public schools, which is why our property taxes in Oak Park and River Forest are so high. The schools are responsible for the high tax rates, not the village governments -- but the radical right Trump worshippers never let facts get in their way,

Kitty Conklin from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 2:15 PM

David Reichs - here's the link. http://chng.it/9gdncgmK

David Rechs from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2019 1:56 PM

How/where do I sign the petition?

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