Property Tax Freeze Talking Points:
Call Your Senator
1. A property tax freeze takes away local control. On average, 97% of local library funds come from property taxes. The most basic responsibility of local library trustees is to manage revenues and expenditures to provide the most cost effective library service for local residents. A state-mandated freeze automatically and arbitrarily limits library revenues, which should be a local decision.
2. A property tax freeze is actually a net revenue reduction for libraries. The whole point of tax caps is to limit an increase in property tax levies to the rate of inflation. While inflation is currently low, a permanent freeze would result in levies that have NO inflation adjustment. Overtime, the net revenues received would fall further and further behind inflation. A permanent freeze with no inflation adjustment would be devastating, reducing the net revenues to libraries.
3. Local libraries already balance their budgets. Unlike the State of Illinois which has a massive budget deficit, local libraries are required to balance their budgets every year. Libraries have already done the hard work of trimming staff, services, and other operational costs to meet this obligation. To further limit local control of revenues punishes libraries that have already tightened belts and made sacrifices.
4. The state imposes unfunded mandates on local libraries. At the same time that a freeze would limit local revenues, the state continues to impose unfunded mandates on local libraries driving up the costs for local residents and taxpayers. A revenue freeze is totally inappropriate when the state is unilaterally increasing local taxpayer costs.
5. A property tax freeze is especially harmful when the state continues to reduce its own support for libraries.
The State of Illinois does little to support local libraries, supplying on average just 3% of the cost to provide library service. However, as a result of the state budget impasse, libraries are currently receiving less than half that amount. The inability of the state to manage its own finances has already cut library budgets in fiscal 2016 and a freeze would compound this budget shortfall.
Call your Senator
. Time is short. The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 31, 2016.