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“What we need is to work in moderation, not in the extreme.”

-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan


“Yeah my blood’s so mad feels like coagulating.”

-Barry McGuire, Eve of Destruction


By: Mark Glennon*


They’re sprouting. Tax protest and revolt groups, long predictable in Illinois, are popping up. Articles today in the Northwest Herald and Illinois News Network describe some of them, perhaps the most notable being Illinois Tax Revolution. Others are under discussion or in formation. I’ve heard from them here.


Most are focused on property taxes, as they should be, because rates in many Chicago suburbs have reached levels that can only be described as suicidal and confiscatory. The most widely read article on this site details effective property tax rates in Chicago’s south suburbs, which average over five percent. Dozens of suburbs in other areas are over three or four percent, which we listed in a separate article. Almost all are going up to feed growing pension contributions with no end in sight.


Most Illinois politicians and media remain in denial of that insanity. The press has ignored what’s happened in the south suburbs. But those who pay understand. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to organized tax protesters is they are too late in many cases. Once rates exceed three or four percent, a death spiral ensues. The south suburbs are doomed by that death spiral. A Gallup poll two years ago said over half of Illinoisans would leave if they could. It’s probably worse today.


It’s too early to say what direction these efforts will take or what success they will have, but there’s one central, undeniable reality they, and all of us, must face. Debate what the answers should be, but suck it up and deal with this fact: Our model of government in Illinois is broken. We simply aren’t generating the jobs, revenue and growth we need to keep the promises government has made. Excessive property taxes are the most conspicuous element in that broken system.


Fueling the revolution is ever growing anger over the control of state government by Cook County Democrats, widely despised outside the county, and their subservience to public unions. Committed to that mantra of “moderation” constantly repeated by Speaker Madigan, they remain indifferent to the plain truth that drastic, extreme, radical remedies are long overdue.


And, now, the Illinois Supreme Court has reinforced the perception that it is a rogue court. Yesterday’s ruling striking mapping reform from the November ballot, cast along party lines, will be the last straw for many. It’s legitimacy has cracked.


Don’t underestimate the historical importance and overwhelming size of the challenges at hand in Illinois’ state and local fiscal crises.


*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.




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Somebody please explain why Rauner was fighting so hard not have the TRS pensions rate of return lowered from 7.5% to 7%? Why isn’t he using this to his political advantage, as devastating as it is, a 7% rate of return is still wildly optimistic? He should be using his office to launch a PR campaign and inform the public of the true pension debit and expose whats dished out to the public(in the Trib, Suntimes, Crains, etc) is a joke. Don’t get it


Do you have any proof Rauner was mad because the discount rate was lowered 1/2%??

I thought Rauner was mad because the meeting was held very quickly , with only 2 hours notice…

And I would guess that Rauner wanted the discount rate of TRS sers and surs lowered to 3%

Yes, lowered to 3% from 7.5% , for all TRS sers and surs pension funds,
Since 3% is more truthful of a discount rate.


Dan Proft’s interview of Michael Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown was posted August 14, 2016 on YouTube.

Ideas for additional sources of revenue included a progressive income tax and service taxes.


Or Durbin will become governor, he will then get the fed to bail out the whole 111 billion. The structure of nothing will change, the fed bailout will simply buy another 30 years of the next “Madigan” using the government sector economy as a special class protected from diminishment and the market forces everyone else has to live with.

Durbin only runs for Governor if the Dems fail to keep the Senate. Right now, Chris Kennedy is the choice.

Property taxes are only part of the equation. What happens when the State tries to fix the yearly budget shortfall. Currently $39B spend with $31B of revenues. Even if we cut half the difference, there is still a big increase to get to $34B. Then we have to make up the $10B in backlog. Another increase of taxes. Then it is only a matter of time before the pension rate of return is lowered and pension contributions will soar. Another tax increase. It shouldn’t be hard to calculate what income tax increase is required to meet the huge gap. 6%? 7%? 10%? Revolt? Doubt it. Those that… Read more »

People will keep leaving, but all that does after a certain amount leave is make paying the pensions impossible, which they most likely already are now anyway. Taxes can only go up so high, and only so many cuts can be made. In the end leaving is simply not an option for everyone, but the pensions running out of money will happen for certain in time as they are now. Math wins out in the end, and taxes cannot be raised forever. The pensions are doomed.


Please respond to my comment above Mark. Tell me what you think of what I said.


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J.A. Herzrent

Pension clawbacks should begin now via a bankruptcy process. Otherwise, those now retired or soon to retire will empty out the pension trusts in about ten years. The funds that have been accumulated for all employees should now be allocated fairly to all employees. Pension millionaires will still get the bigger share than younger workers but at 40% (or so) funding level, the millionaires would help to share in the pain of lower pensions and reduced (or more expensive) health care.

Here are my predictions for Rauner’s term: – Income tax hike to 4.75% after the election: We all know it’s coming. Only Rauner’s presence will keep it below 5%. This will be considered a “win”. Retirement income will remain tax free as no one has the guts to piss off the Boomers. – Pension cost shift to local districts: That’s the only way to keep the tax rate below 5% and get the liability going-forward off the state’s books. The localities will suffer big time and this will do nothing to keep property taxes in check. Logically, a massive Tier 1 pay freeze would result as more… Read more »