We can't build our way out of our tax problem

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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After a repeat presentation on Government Access Programming on 6GA, I could not believe what I witnessed. President Abu-Taleb's verbal slip during the budget hearings in 2018 was interesting. He wanted to protect "consumers," er, taxpayers. 

This is the problem! The village president sees us as buyers of services and "stuff," not taxpayers. The concepts are not similar. Taxes are used to provide essential services, pay salaries, cover pensions, etc. If it is a business, then we are not making a profit (surplus). Maybe the prices are too high! 

In addition, a 7½ percent increase in the tax levy ($900,000) is actually going to increase another 3 to 3.5 percent (approximately 10½ percent) because of the state tax added to allow for those who do not pay their taxes. President "Tall Building" Abu Taleb's attempt to minimize the cost to taxpayers is disingenuous. 

Telling taxpayers "it's just a few dollars more" is like saying a blizzard will dump just a little more snow! 

 In the hearing, the president showed his nastiness toward trustees Deno Andrews and Simone Boutet (who I hoped would vote no). He wants little dissension to his ideas and to the views of the secret co-president, the village manager. 

What was fun to watch was Trustee Andrews and Trustee Moroney's comments questioning the tax levy increase, the failure to draw a line in the sand as to levies going up, and to the president's ridiculous rationalizations concerning picking the taxpayers' pocket. 

In 2019, we need a board to look at taxpayers and say, "We will not increase your taxes in 2019 (which covers 2020), and we will use zero-based budgeting in all future budgets!"

A few trustees seem to feel the pain we feel. The problem is, as real estate values rise, due partially to high-rises being constructed, the president wants us to think this levy is a small increase. He argues either/or: police/no police; good parks/no parks (oops, that's another government, Mr. Abu Taleb), good/poor schools (oops, another taxing body). You do not control other governing bodies.

We cannot sustain the continued tax increases, and we surely cannot build our way out of the tax problem. Let's hope a new board finds some answers.

Robert Milstein

Former village trustee

Reader Comments

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Richard Holland  

Posted: January 15th, 2019 11:04 AM

Not sure if "motorization" vs "motivation" was a Freudian slip or autocorrect running amok. Funny either way.

Richard Holland  

Posted: January 15th, 2019 11:01 AM

I too would love to see the numbers, as I am sure they will not bear out. With the sweetheart deals these developers get to skirt taxes and fees, the alleged increase in the tax roles versus the cost associated with adding more vacant retail space, and some condo living space (not vacant? vacant?) and the services and infrastructure costs that come with the influx (?) of residents. I don't see this being a huge net gain once the macro economics are examined. No one involved in any of these conversations have produced numbers that show the overall cost benefit analysis. What percentage of these condo residents (or their renters) are utilizing the schools? I can see a modest sales tax uptick if we add a large number of residents, maybe transfer stamp income,but the real question is what are the costs associated with the new condo residents and what exactly are they imputing in to the economy with their shopping and property tax revenue? If this does equal real income shouldn't we make every new building 28 stories tall? What are the costs associated with removing the charm and lifestyle most OP residents saw as the motorization to move here? I would love to see a serious examination of these things, although if the powers that be were doing their jobs properly this would have been examined at length before approving all of these projects. Right?

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 13th, 2019 4:27 PM

By all means Robert, let's see the data ... the evidence. But the anecdotal evidence for those who own classic big ole houses with big property taxes to match, is good luck trying to sell, cause you will need it.

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: January 13th, 2019 1:08 PM

I sincerely doubt that property values are not increasing and I will see if that is true when the evaluations are done again. The continued development will increase Oak Park's value. Let's see Trustee Moroney show the numbers. Perhaps Our Township Assessor could add some light on the effect of growth on property values.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: January 12th, 2019 10:21 PM

Property values in Oak Park are not rising according to Trustee Dan Moroney. Too expensive to live in Oak Park and too risky to sell. Homeowners are basically trapped with no way out!

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: January 12th, 2019 6:08 PM

AT-T has achieved something extraordinary in Oak Park politics: he is reviled by liberals AND conservatives. It's the stuff of legends.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: January 9th, 2019 11:43 AM

Boycotting Maya del Sol for the rest of time. l We are just one household, but it puts "just a few dollars" less into the hands of a certain someone.

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