SPRINGFIELD - A Republican gubernatorial candidate announced Thursday that he wants state government to set aside money every year for property tax relief.
Despite concerns from education advocacy groups, state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, is proposing legislation that would use 10 percent of the state's natural revenue growth as a swap for local property taxes.
"If we don't provide this property tax relief our senior citizens are going to choose to move outside of the state, working families are going to find it too burdensome," Brady said. "This is essential to keeping people in Illinois."
The proposal depends on a growing economy, which generates more tax revenue without raising taxes. For example, if someone pays income tax on their current salary, and then gets a raise, the tax rate would be the same but the total tax collected increases.
Brady's plan relies on a $4 billion total revenue growth in four years. He would set aside $100 million the first year, $200 million the second and so on, resulting in a $1 billion total after four years. However, his prediction could be on the high side, because last year Illinois revenue grew by $770 million, which would only mean about $77 million being set aside.
"We've got to start somewhere, and it grows as it needs to grow," Brady said.
The money would be redistributed back to counties based on property values. As a result, richer counties with high property values would get more money than poorer counties.
While the proposal doesn't appear to hurt education spending, Bindu Batchu, campaign manager for A+ Illinois, is concerned that Bradyâ's plan doesn't fix the school funding problems.
"We need to really guarantee that every school has the very basics, and we need a larger scale of property tax relief," said Batchu, whose organization supports a complete overhaul of education funding.
Brady admitted that setting aside tax money for his measure would mean less money for other government spending. However, the candidate said education funding should be the state's top priority.
The legislation is Senate bills 1656 and 2513.