Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012, 9:05 pm
Cross pushes 'freeze, audit and repeal' plan
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By Eric Timmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, on Wednesday endorsed a plan to freeze property taxes for three years at a news conference in Moline.
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Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, and Adam Andrezjewski, of For the Good of Illinios, during a news conference at the Quad City International Airport on Wednesday.
The proposal was one of three elements of a plan Rep. Cross touted when he spoke at the Quad City International Airport. He was joined by Adam Andrzejewski, a businessman who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2010 and founded "For the Good of Illinois," a conservative advocacy group.
Mr. Andrzejewski's group wrote the "freeze, audit and repeal" plan that would freeze property taxes for three years statewide. In the fourth year, an "inflation indexed hard cap" would be placed on all property tax levies. Local governments wanting to increase their levy over the cap amount would have to ask voters through a referendum.
Mr. Andrzejewski said state lawmakers could choose to freeze levies through a simple majority vote.
Property taxes are already capped in some Illinois counties, such as Rock Island County. But Mr. Andrzejewski said loopholes allow local governments to get around those caps in some cases, and he wants them closed.
The other elements of Mr. Andrzejewski's plan call for repealing the state income tax increase approved in 2011 -- set to expire in 2015 -- and an "adversarial" forensic audit of the state's finances. Rep. Cross said Mr. Andrzejewski's plan, if implemented, would point the state in a positive direction.
"These are three of the important things that begin the shift," he said.
Republicans have been pushing for a forensic audit of the state's finances for some time. Mr. Andrzejewski said he is convinced the audit would find huge sums of money being improperly spent by the state.
He said he wasn't sure how much the audit would cost but was sure the corruption it would uncover would cover the price of the audit. He also said the audit could be completed in 12 months.
At a recent candidates' forum, state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, said Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland had told him a forensic audit of the state's transactions would cost in the area of $100 million and take years to complete.