During last week's meet and greet coffees, a voter asked me "what does the county board do, anyway?" This was a great opportunity to share about the work that the board does do, while pointing out the areas I felt could be improved. Most importantly, it was an opportunity to discuss the advocacy the DuPage County Board should take up, and could, with more Democratic leadership.
Earlier this week, Member Liz Chaplin, the DuPage County Board's only Democrat, asked residents at the York Township Democratic Organization's monthly meeting to let her know of any issues we wished to be included in the Board's federal agenda. Please see my letter to Member Chaplin below:
Dear Member Chaplin,
Thank you for speaking at the York Township Democratic Organization’s meeting last week. During your comments, you encouraged York Township residents to send along concerns we wish to be advocated for by the DuPage County Board at the federal level this year.
I feel that one of the most pressing issues facing DuPage County in the coming year is the burden placed on DuPage residents as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). During the December holiday season, we saw residents who own property rushing to pay their property taxes early. Many of these residents found later that these pre-payment may not help them avoid the penalties imposed by the TCJA towards their state and local tax (SALT) deductions if their assessment was not current for the 2018 tax year. While some DuPage families may see short-term benefits of the TCJA, the long term effects will have negative impacts on our community.
Homeownership is an essential building block to a middle class future. For many families, your home is your largest and most prized asset. The limiting of SALT deductions could make homes in DuPage county too expensive for the average family, reducing the incentive to buy a home or reducing the amount of older homeowners who can remain in their homes following retirement. An increase in property taxes also affects renters, who may see larger rent increases.
Furthermore, property taxes help provide the services which make DuPage County so desirable. From our fantastic public schools to our safe communities, DuPage residents will see a reduction in these essential services if the negative aspects of the TCJA are not addressed.
I wish the DuPage County Board to take two actions in response to the TCJA.
First, the Board should condemn this misguided and short-sighted federal bill which will increase the tax burden for many families while favoring the richest among us.
Second, the Board must take up budgetary concerns at the county level to reduce unnecessary and excessive expenditures. Without these actions, the Board could see a revenue shortfall in the coming fiscal years which could require a tax increase on DuPage residents. With the TCJA at the federal level, any increase in taxes by the Board on DuPage residents could be a significant burden for DuPage families.
Thank you for your consideration and your leadership representing DuPage County residents,
Ashley J. Selmon