In the land of high property taxes, one village goes for broke

West Dundee Trustees Consider Plan to Make Village the Tax Capital of the United States
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WEST DUNDEE — Officials in West Dundee, Illinois have proposed a plan which could make their downtown area the tax capital of the United States. Earlier this year, the village board approved a measure designating a portion of downtown West Dundee a Special Services Area (SSA). This allows village officials to impose additional taxes in that area. After raising the sales tax by one percent earlier this year, the village is now proposing to increase property taxes in the SSA by more than 14 percent. The revenue generated by the additional tax would be used to fund debt service obligations related to a $2,000,000 bond issued by the village last year. If approved, property owners in the downtown West Dundee SSA will pay among the highest property taxes in the United States.
According to many impacted property owners, the village’s economic rationale for the tax increase is not credible. For homeowners and small businesses in the SSA, the new taxes could bring extreme economic hardship. Furthermore, they say the geographic boundaries of the SSA appear arbitrary.
Bonnie Yates lives in a charming, historic home on Main Street. The home is located on the property where famed detective Allan Pinkerton once had his home and cooperage—and there are rumors that Pinkerton’s home was a stop on Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad.

Bonnie Yates, 77, on the porch of her historic home in West Dundee, Illinois. The town is proposing a new taxing zone that will increase Yates’ property taxes by more than $1,100 per year. The building across the street from her is a law firm. They are not included in the SSA, which will save them an estimated $1,450 per year.

Bonnie Yates, 77, on the porch of her historic home in West Dundee, Illinois. The town is proposing a new taxing zone that will increase Yates’ property taxes by more than $1,100 per year. The building across the street from her is a law firm. They are not included in the SSA, which will save them an estimated $1,450 per year.


When Yates, 77, bought the property in 1989, the home was in serious disrepair. She spent thousands of dollars restoring the structure, and many thousands more maintaining it over the years.
In January 2016, village officials notified Yates that her home was included in the SSA, and that her taxes would increase. Yates was surprised, however, to find that the law firm just across the street from her was not located in the SSA. This means they are not subject to the new tax increase, which would amount to $1,450 per year for their law firm’s office. Also not included in the taxing zone were multiple businesses located along five additional blocks of Main Street.
When Yates contacted the village to learn more, she was told by a village official that her tax increase would amount to “only a few hundred dollars a year.”
However, Yates received a letter the following week, stating that the village had miscalculated the tax amount. The actual tax increase would be approximately ten times higher than what had been presented at the village board meeting just two months earlier. According to this letter, Yates’ property taxes would jump by more than $1,100 per year.
At 77 years old, Yates still works full-time as a marriage and family counselor. She says she would like to retire, but can’t afford to—especially if her property taxes will increase so substantially.
[trx_quote title=”Bonnie Yates”]I want to do my part to help the village, but it’s getting to be a burden at my age. I want to be able to retire without losing my home.”[/trx_quote]
The West Dundee Village Board will be holding a hearing and vote during its regular board meeting on Monday, August 22, regarding the proposed property tax increase in the downtown business district. The meeting begins at 7:30pm upstairs at the Village Hall, 102 S. 2nd St. (1/2 block south of Rt. 72).
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Media and concerned taxpayers should contact Julie Fox, Chair of the Fox Valley Libertarians, for more information. She can be reached at:  juliefox@fvlp.org

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Antiwar.com | The $400 Billion F-35 Boondoggle

Taxpayers United of America’s Executive Director, Jared Labell, wrote an article for Antiwar.com about the business of warfare, Lockheed Martin’s $400 billion F-35 strike fighter boondoggle, and the tax burden inflicted upon U.S. taxpayers to fund it all.


The following is a condensed op-ed version of that article.
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CHICAGO — Acclaimed author and vice-president of the American Anti-Imperialist League, Mark Twain, popularized the expression, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Some statistics, however, frighten even the administrators of Leviathan.
Americans’ trust in government is at historically low levels. According to recent Gallup and Pew public opinion polls, more than four-fifths of Americans do not trust Washington, D.C. “to do what is right.” During the past half-century, a fluctuating segment of those respondents – not an insignificant number, but in the single digits – said that they never trust the federal government.
Never. That’s a good start.
In 2016, individuals living under the jurisdiction of the ever-expanding lawless State known as America have ample reason to distrust the government, as do those who are subject to its dictates abroad.
To understand the perverse incentives created by the political death cult in DC and its Holy Priests blessing the bloodletting from the Pentagon, look no further than Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor.
In the wake of the failed military coup in Turkey earlier this month against its autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a notable longtime partner of Lockheed Martin and the U.S. government, the company’s CEO Marillyn Hewson discussed second quarter earnings with analysts on a call July 19 and unabashedly spun the recent developments in Turkey faster than the F-35 can fly.
More on that shortly.
Hewson reaffirmed Lockheed Martin’s commitment to Erdogan and his government, cynically praising their value to NATO as “an essential security partner in that region for the United States and for our allies.”
Lockheed Martin CFO Bruce Tanner doubled-down on the close partnership with Turkey, emphasizing the company’s dealings dating back to the 1970s and production of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a program attained by Lockheed Martin in 1993 after acquiring an aviation division of General Dynamics.
OK, so what’s new, you ask?
Not much, unfortunately, which brings us back to concerns about the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. This flying dumpster fire has incinerated nearly $400 billion of our tax dollars – so far – making it the most expensive weapons system in the American Empire’s history.
News broke July 28 that the Air Force is close to certifying the F-35 as ready for combat, only a mere decade and a half after the program began. The announcement was made by Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, head of the Air Combat Command and possibly a little-known extra from Stanley Kubrick’s prescient film, Dr. Strangelove.
The F-35 has a tortuous history of cost overruns, significant production delays, and astonishing operational issues, much of which the government would like taxpayers to forget. But as the Air Force prepares to parade its expensive new toy before the world – and more ominously, Puerto Rico and the forty-five states where it serves as a jobs program for shameless military Keynesianism – let’s make sure that no one forgets about this boondoggle, the jet that ate the Pentagon.
Only days before the Air Force’s revelation, National Security Correspondent Amanda Macias pointed out a fascinating passage on page 32 of Lockheed Martin’s most recent 10-K annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The final paragraph of the section detailing the status of the F-35 program tells you everything you need to know about central planning and the absurdity of the American Empire.
The concluding analysis states, “Current program challenges include, but are not limited to, supplier and partner performance, software development, level of cost associated with life cycle operations and sustainment and warranties, receiving funding for production contracts on a timely basis, executing future flight tests, findings resulting from testing, and operating the aircraft.”
Operating the aircraft is a current program challenge after fifteen years of expropriating and burning through nearly $400 billion of our tax dollars.
Contract negotiations between the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin have been prolonged, and nearly $1 billion of the company’s money was invested to keep the program alive, but CFO Bruce Tanner takes comfort in the prospect of a significant return on investment, commenting, “We will not be able to continue and have that level of cash outflow as a corporation. We simply don’t have that capacity. The Pentagon clearly knows that situation, and I’m optimistic that we are going to get cash soon.”
Perhaps he was thinking of news from the week prior, because optimism abounds when prospective clients, like those bastions of freedom Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are considering multibillion dollar weapons systems.
What could possibly go wrong?
Fifty-seven percent of Americans told Gallup that they pay too much in federal income taxes, which is the highest percentage since 2001. Nearly half of respondents say that their taxes are unfair. Trust in government is at record lows.
If we do nothing, the US government will continue to devour our taxes just as easily as it burns cities to the ground. While the outright costs of war are tangible, the opportunity costs of perpetuating the warfare state are incalculable.
In 1918, Randolph Bourne warned, “war is the health of the State,” and the reality is that our taxes are its sustenance.
But don’t take it from me. Let James Brown’s band, Fred Wesley & the J.B.’s, lead the indictment of the State:
“I’m paying taxes, but what am I buying? A whole lot of government muscle, and everybody crying.”

TUA Celebrates 4 Years Defending Taxpayers

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CHICAGO- For over 45 years since its founding, Taxpayers United of America (TUA), a Chicago-based tax watchdog group has successfully fought taxes at the local, state, and federal levels, while championing the interests of taxpayers. 

Founded in 1976 by economist and activist Jim Tobin while still employed as a bank examiner at the Chicago branch of the Federal Reserve, Tobin was disgusted by what he saw from the inside and left the government sector to work on behalf of taxpayers. TUA has since gone on to become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. 

“I’d love to continue this work for as long as possible,” said TUA founder and president, Jim Tobin. “Our work is critically important now more than ever, and it’s incredibly rewarding to work on behalf of taxpayers and lessen the tax burden foisted upon them by politicians and governments.”

Since TUA’s founding, the taxpayer watchdog group has made an impact on tax policy in Illinois and across America. In 1977, Tobin led the first successful property tax strike in modern Illinois history. In the past four decades, TUA has been victorious in defeating 441 local tax-increase referenda, stopping state income tax hikes, and defeating every attempt to enact a graduated state income tax in Illinois since 1992. TUA’s leadership and members were instrumental in repealing the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, legislation that increased taxes on all senior citizens, which was the first time a major federal entitlement had ever been repealed. 

All combined, TUA has saved local, state, and federal taxpayers more than $200 billion of their hard-earned money since 1976.