The defeat of the Burr Ridge voters that was delivered to a home rule ballot question on Mar 17 is a sign that that people have become increasingly suspicious of tax increase proposals disguised as fairness and good government initiatives. These are the remarks of a local business owner and village trustee Zach Mottl.
Mottl had helped fight a battle against the proposal. “People didn’t listen to the nonsense about how home rule would be good for the village,” Mottl told the DuPage Policy Journal. “They educated themselves about what it really meant, and they got fired up about it.” Mayor Gary Grasso had backed the Burr Ridge initiative, which lost heavily 1,654 to 608 on March 17, the primary day.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker had termed his proposed progressive tax a “fair tax”. According to him, under the ‘fair tax’, the wealthy will pay more tax than the current flat tax. However, the tax experts are warning that in the ‘fair tax’ the middle class will also have to end up paying more as well. The proposal is a constitutional amendment that will be on the November ballot.
Burr Ridge’s Grasso argued that home rule status would give the village more flexibility in spending revenue generated by the hotel-motel tax. Now, tourism must be promoted as near all the revenue generated by the tax must be spent upon it. This is a state requirement for non-home rule local governments.
The state-mandated caps on local taxes are not obligated to home rule municipalities. Property taxes, gasoline taxes, sales taxes, and other levies can go as high as the board of a home rule municipality allows. “People saw it as a power grab,” said Burr Ridge attorney Ellen Raymond, who engineered a grassroots effort to defeat home rule. “And they also understood local governments are not constrained by promises or even resolutions not to raise taxes in the future.”