10 percent property tax cut coming in 2018, McHenry chairman vows

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Glenn Minnis | May 15, 2017

Jack Franks has a tax-fighting, cost-cutting plan to make McHenry County a model for the entire country.

The newly elected chairman of the McHenry County Board has committed himself to a resolution to slice the county’s property tax levy by at least 10 percent in 2018. Fellow council members recently joined him in his quest by approving the proposed measure in a 23-1 vote.

Franks acknowledges that he doesn’t know all the details about how the board will go about reaching its goal, but he vows that compromise will not be frowned upon in his administration.

“We’re asking for advice and suggestions from everyone as to how we can best get where we need to be,” he told the McHenry Times. “All I know is, we will get there. I don’t care about party labels or any of that — only doing what’s best for taxpayers.”

Government statistics show McHenry County stands as one of the most heavily taxed counties in the country, with the average taxpayer forced to pay annual property taxes higher than the cost of their mortgage payment.

That development is at least partly responsible for a trend that has seen the county’s overall population decline in six of the last seven years, leaving residents who remain with an even larger tax burden to bear.

“In Springfield, our Republican governor and Democratic-controlled General Assembly have failed to work together to pass a budget for almost two years, continually operating under the assumption that as long as the other party gets blamed, it’s OK for real people to suffer,” Franks said in an Illinois News Network op-ed.

A former state representative, Franks has a hard-earned reputation of fighting for the kinds of principles he’s now proposing.

“I was elected to reduce property taxes, and I have an 18-year legislative history of telling the truth,” he said. “We’re going to work to make this happen and make ourselves a model for everyone.”