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Local Editorials

Tight-fisted voters guard their wallets

Area taxpayers could have allowed the government to take more money from them in Tuesday’s election. Given today’s economic and taxation atmosphere, it’s no wonder voters slammed the door in government’s face.

With their wallets gripped firmly in hand, voters left little doubt Tuesday how they felt about proposed tax increases.

Lee County voters gave a resounding “no” to a 1 percent sales tax for school facilities.

So did Whiteside and Ogle county voters.

In Lee County, the measure died quickly; 72.8 percent of voters were against it, only 27.2 percent in favor.

The defeat marked the referendum’s second loss in 5 months. On Nov. 6, voters killed it with 58.9 percent against, only 41.1 percent in favor.

In Whiteside County, the third time was not the charm for the sales tax for schools. It garnered 45.8 percent approval, 54.2 percent disapproval.

Ogle County voters were likewise in no mood for a higher sales tax for schools. The measure went down to defeat, 34.9 percent in favor and 65.1 percent against.

Oregon Library District voters had the chance to approve more spending for a new library.

No way, they said.

Twin measures to issue $4.52 million in bonds for the new structure, and to increase the library tax rate to operate it, crashed and burned.

The bond referendum got support from 42.5 percent of the voters, but 57.5 percent voted against.

The margin was worse for the library tax rate hike: 37.1 percent in favor, 62.9 percent opposed.

However, when it came to granting certain units of government the authority to negotiate lower electricity rates on behalf of local ratepayers, voters were all ears – and ayes.

Electrical aggregation referendums won in the city of Dixon and the villages of Lee, Paw Paw and Sublette, along with unincorporated Lee, Whiteside and Ogle counties and seven Ogle County townships: Brookville, Byron, Grand Detour, Lafayette, Lincoln, Oregon-Nashua and Woosung.

Circumstances must be ideal for tax referendums to pass. They represent one of the few chances individual voters have to control how much money the government takes from them.

The taxation atmosphere this time around was not the best. Starting Jan. 1, taxpayers began paying more money for Social Security withholding taxes.

Two years before, Illinois raised state income tax rates.

Higher salaries won by striking teachers certainly will impact Dixon taxpayers.

The as-yet-unknown costs of the Affordable Care Act, expected to take full effect next year, are a concern for some taxpayers.

And the Sauk Valley jobless rate – above 11 percent in Whiteside and Lee counties in March and right at 13 percent in Ogle County – does not encourage confidence among taxpayers.

No wonder, given the chance, taxpayers slammed the door in government’s face.

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