Moylan, Smolenski discuss property-tax reform
Both Democratic 55th District state Rep. Marty Moylan of Des Plaines and Republican challenger Marilyn Smolenski of Park Ridge contend curbing property taxes is a top priority for the state and district, but they favor different ways of achieving it.
Though the state government doesn't levy property taxes, it holds oversight authority over the local governments that do.
Smolenski said property taxes seem to be the No. 1 local issue across Illinois, and it is time for voters to send candidates capable of real reform to Springfield.
She suggested looking more closely at Indiana, a place where Illinois families and businesses are already moving to escape the property-tax burden.
"How did they lay that out?" Smolenski said. "What was that path like? Because it's been very successful for them. They still have roads, they still have fire departments. They've still got schools and hospitals. How do they have that and they're so successful but we aren't?"
Moylan said he's already been an active advocate for reducing property taxes during his three terms in the state House.
"I supported Senate Bill 484 and (House) Bill 156, which cuts property taxes for middle-class families and seniors and veterans by expanding exemptions," Moylan said. "That's what we can do. I've voted 15 times to cut property taxes."
As far as the 55th District specifically, Moylan cited gambling expansion and the proliferation of video gambling in the state as an issue affecting Des Plaines' revenue from Rivers Casino and thus the city's need to seek additional tax money.
"Any type of (gambling) expansion would hurt the residents of Des Plaines, depending on what it is," Moylan said. "It's a huge issue. Many of these towns are expanding with video gaming, which has affected our bottom dollar."
Under terms of the state deal that led to Des Plaines' being granted the casino license for Rivers, the city must share its revenue with 10 South suburban communities, including Chicago Heights and Harvey. For some of those communities, the casino revenue helps make their budget each year, thus causing them to be similarly hurt by gambling expansion in the state, Moylan said.
The 55th District includes parts of Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood.