Friday, March 25, 2011
What are we voters of Orland Park? Chopped liver?
How many of you are doing well financially? Raise your hands. Not a lot, I imagine. So it bothers me that the theme of the expensive mailers being sent out by the Orland Park United Party (Pat Gira, Ed Schussler and Carol who?) is "Orland Park -- a Great Place to Live. Let's Keep it that way."
Orland Park is a great place to live and your predecessors used that theme two years ago and two years before that. The real issue is that yes, we are a Great place to live. I love living here. But I don't want to keep it just that way. I want to make it better.
The most recent mailer -- four pages of full color -- plays with the numbers about taxation, claiming we have "one of the lowest tax rates" in the southwest suburbs.
Tax rates are not what drives your property taxes, though. The village asks for a budget and can increase their spending. Then, they divide it up among the homeowners and that becomes the tax rate. So if the tax rate is low, it doesn't mean they haven't raised your property taxes.
In fact, our property taxes skyrocketed this year. Yes, I'm paying about $2,000 more a year in property taxes. And, I no longer get the village property tax rebate that was promised to us to off-set the increased sales tax by Mayor Dan McLaughlin way back when. We kept the sales tax hike and threw out the rebates.
Worse, Orland Park is the home to the worst taxed fire protection district in the country. The Orland Fire Protection District spends nearly $30 million a year to do what? What Tinley Park does for only $7 million a year? I want a good fire protection district, but not one lined in gold. So that guy, Salvatore Cacciato has to go because he was Pat Maher's running mate and pal. And they are the pals of the officials in Orland Park who backed Maher and are remaining quiet about the outrageous taxes levied by the Orland Fire Protection District.
The slogan "Let's keep it that way" suddenly sounds terrible.
I like Gira and Schussler. It's not the point though. When are they going to speak out and be leaders and scream about the stores that are closing because they can't afford the high taxes any more, instead of trying to tell me that "Hey, you know. Things are not that bad. Let's keep them that way."
Keeping things "that way" has forced many people to the edge of bankruptcy. Mortgage foreclosures are up and the economy stinks. Are we managing our money, or using phony campaign buzz words like "tax rate" to distract voters from the real issue.
Look. I'm not being unfair. I'm being honest. And if you run for public office, get ready to take the criticism and listen to the howls. And if people are not howling then you, as elected officials should be howling for us and screaming to get our taxes down.
How many of the trustees voted against eliminating the property tax rebate?
How about a fancy, expensive mailer on that.
And, maybe you should fire your campaign consultant and find someone who can write to the real concerns of the taxpayers of Orland Park. Because the "Hey, it ain't so bad" theme really sucks.
Gira and Schussler and Carol Ruzich are being challenged by John Brudnak, Molly McAvoy Flynn and Steve Williams on the Fiscal Voices slate backed by taxfighting champion Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman.
John Fotopoulos is also running, and he needs better literature, too. Although at least Fotopoulos is addressing the real issue: "Stop balancing the budget by increasing taxes."
Yes. And there is also Tom Cunningham who is running. Formerly with District 135, Cunningham does not have the money, it seems, to inundate homeowners with brochures and fancy, schmancy four-page brochures. His website is www.CunninghamforOrlandPark.com.
The website for the Orland Park United Party is www.OrlandParkUnited.com. (Shouldn't it be, "www.HeyItsNotSoBad.com?)
The website for the Fiscal Voices candidates backed by Gorman is www.FiscalVoices.com.
And, Fotopoulos'web site is ... (it's not on your literature, John. Come on. Put it there fer Cris Sakes!) I'll look it up. I can't find his campaign website. But his law office website is www.FotopoulosLaw.com.
-- Ray Hanania