Rockford Sun

Rockford Sun

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Winnebago County Board may consider increasing the tax levy

Local Government

By Glenn Minnis | Aug 24, 2019

Money041

Rockford community activist Kathie Hansen typically has the same reaction any time she hears bureaucrats talking about the need to raise taxes.

“I’ve never, ever heard them say they were looking to remove waste and until they can do something like that I’m always going to say no more new taxes no matter what form they come in,” Hansen told the Rockford Sun. “I’ve never seen them find any way to remove waste from the budget.”

The Rockford Finance Committee is now considering a pair of budget proposals that could leave the county with as much as a $6.4 billion deficit if the tax levy is increased in order to pay the salaries of 24 Winnebago County Sheriff deputies. Even without the deputies, the county will be left with a $4.5 million hole in the budget.

While Hansen concedes county residents need to have officers they can call on, she desperately wants to see lawmakers get away from a mindset she says has them thinking they can raise taxes any time things don’t exactly fall into place.

“We do need more police officers. My home was robbed last year and it took an hour for police to respond so I know from experience,” she said. “But I’ve also heard the Mayor say that by 2024 we’re going to be bankrupt. So, we need to remove things we don’t need. I’m all about getting rid of want things. When we’re in a budget crisis like our whole state is what we should be doing is lobbying to remove unfunded mandates.”

Back in July, the board approved funding for the sheriff’s deputies from this year’s budget. A final 2019 budget draft is slated to be presented to the board in early September, roughly a month before the new fiscal year kicks in.

“I think it’s become too easy to just raise taxes on people,” Hansen added. “In general, Republicans seem to be much more financially responsible. The first thing Democrats want to do is jump to raise taxes.”

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