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updated: 5/16/2011 10:37 PM

Schaumburg rejects Costin's tax law

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Schaumburg trustees Monday fulfilled their pre-election promise to consider former mayoral candidate Brian Costin's proposal for a Schaumburg Taxpayers Protection Act whether he won office or not.

But while Costin appreciated the attention given to his proposal, he still had hoped Village Attorney Jack Siegel would have cited more specific case law in his written opinion that the ordinance "simply lacks any validity, is beyond the authority of the Village and is meaningless."

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At the heart of Costin's plan was a requirement that all new taxes as well as increases above the rate of inflation would require the approval of voters by referendum.

Costin said he understood the criticism that this would virtually strip away the village's greater autonomy as a home-rule municipality. But as there are many non-home-rule communities in the state, he said he didn't understand why this would be as much at odds with Illinois law as Siegel's letter claimed.

"The one thing from the letter from Jack Siegel that I was concerned about is that he was a little bit vague," Costin told Schaumburg's Finance, Legal and General Government Committee on Monday.

Trustee Marge Connelly said that while Siegel's letter supported her opinion that the proposal would be a mistake for the village, it wasn't the full basis of that opinion.

"We're elected to represent the people and listen to the people," Connelly said. "This is not what I was elected to support. I don't see how I could ever support it."

Officials summed up their opposition to the plan by describing it as a constraint on their successors, which they felt was illegal.

Former village Trustee Pat Riley, in the audience for the meeting, said the plan sounded like a bid to return to the democratic system of ancient Greece where everyone voted on everything -- a move away from the representative democracy of the United States.

Costin disagreed with that assessment as he said his plan focused only on tax issues.

"Either way, when you have more voices out there, you have an opportunity for better government," Costin said.

But he said he understood the board had no obligation to consider the proposal any further if it didn't want to.

He added that he plans to be a quieter, listening presence until the next election unless the board proposes something he considers truly outrageous -- as he did the construction of Alexian Field and the convention center.

For the time being, he said he believes the village has heard and adapted to the message of his campaign -- that there is a limit to the amount of taxes people will stand for.

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