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American Nightmare

From IllinoisPolicy.com

“Amendment 1 is going to harm me personally because it will raise my property taxes. Taxes on my property are already astronomical. I live in Park Forest and we pay some of the highest taxes in the state of Illinois. When I purchased my home I didn’t understand the process until my first tax bill came: $14,000 on a $98,000 home.”


“This is not the American Dream. This is the American nightmare.”


“I was flabbergasted. I didn’t know what to do or who to go to. I tried implementing different exemptions that I could qualify for, but my property taxes are still too high.”


“As president of the Westside Ministers Coalition, we have worked with the community on housing issues. Community members would come into our office every day saying that the taxes were too high, and they were losing their homes. I didn’t understand the process when I first started because I wasn’t a homeowner. But, even then, I still understood that people were supposed to come in if there was an error and fill out the forms to correct the assessment. And still, I wasn’t seeing a whole lot of changes.”


“I also got on the governor’s task force to understand the process because when you buy a home, they don’t tell you or share the tax process with you until after you get into the home.”


“When I got on the task force, I learned so much about the process. I took all the tests you could take on the property tax system. I have been advocating for not only citywide but statewide reforms to property taxes and how people are hit with these taxes. People are losing their homes to taxes, and that’s just ridiculous.”


“My regular mortgage without the taxes was about $500 monthly and the rest of it was taxes. I was paying over $7,000 a year for the school levy even though I don’t have a child in the school system.”


“My tax bill ended up on the governor’s desk as an example of high property taxes. I went to the listening sessions, spoke with state representatives and other elected officials trying to get some tax relief. I held press conferences, a town hall meeting and I was in tears. I took my tax bill, had it blown up and I said: ‘I could pay my house off, paying this rate in six years, but then I’ll get penalized.’”


“Politicians say they’re advocating on behalf of families and that they want people to access homeownership, but then their constituents lose their homes. It has only been by the grace of God that I’ve been able to keep my house.”


“My tax bill has gone down. It’s the lowest it has ever been, which is over $6,000 per year for my $98,000 home. When I spoke to some state workers, they said: ‘You’re doing great. It’s the lowest it’s ever been,’ and I looked at them like they were crazy. I’m glad it’s $6,000 and not $14,000, but it is still incredibly high.”


“And amending the state constitution for the ‘Workers’ Rights Amendment’ will only make things worse. I am a former union member myself, and there are laws in place to protect union workers anyway, so who is this amendment really going to help?”


“The commercial they have for the ‘Workers’ Rights Amendment’ is very misleading. They do not share that it only applies to government workers. In all honesty, if the gentleman standing in their ad isn’t a union boss, Amendment 1 won’t help him. But they make it seem like the layperson has a voice, and in reality they really don’t.”


“Why do we have elected officials if we’re giving their job – to make laws – to the union bosses? That’s misleading. On top of that, if you have harmful employees, what happens if they want to take away background checks for schools or in the medical field? Who is protecting students or patients? This amendment would allow them to undo those protections.”


“Amendment 1 would be set in stone and if it gets passed, voters won’t have any power to change it. There are no commonsense laws that would be able to be implemented. It is my heartfelt belief as a taxpayer, a former union worker and a homeowner that voting ‘no’ on this amendment won’t hurt unionized workers.”


“What is this amendment really going to do in regards to the workforce at large? It’s not a good deal. Instead of putting in actual reforms for a ballot question, they give us this. Some politicians lied to us, telling us they don’t want to mess with the constitution. They’re right, especially if they want to put this down. The union bosses have a vested interest in seeing this pass because it would be a large payday for them.”


“Where does it stop? What if union bosses change their contracts to say we have to pay their mortgages? The wording is so open-ended that it opens doors for a windfall of things that could not exist and then they would be covered by the constitution, and then it’s going to be 10 years before we understand the fallout. They’re being very misleading in their commercial.”


The Rev. Phalese Binion

President, Westside Ministers Coalition

Chicago, Illinois



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