An open letter to Gov. Pat Quinn:
I bought my house -- a modest, three-bedroom split level -- in July 1955, and it has been my home ever since. My property tax for the first full year of ownership was $275. The property tax for the 2011 was $6,433 -- $4,020 of which went for school costs. That's 62 percent of my total tax. This 2011 tax is a little over $1,000 more than the previous year's, and most of that increase was in school costs which I believe are unjustifiably excessive.
I have been angry for years at the unfairness of taking all the school costs solely from property taxes. Certainly a large percentage of Illinois citizens do not have a property tax to pay, and thus do not contribute to those school costs.
I have complained to Illinois state representatives on various occasions over the past 10 to 15 years, suggesting that Illinois should follow the path of neighboring states such as Michigan, which draws all its school costs from state income taxes or state sales taxes. That way everyone who has a reasonable income will contribute to the school costs, not just we property owners.
Something has to be changed -- elderly property owners, such as myself, are being taxed beyond the capability of our limited retirement incomes and face the possibility of losing the homes we completely paid for decades ago. You are our representatives in Illinois government. You have the responsibility to do something to rectify this gross inequity.
Robert S. Johns