A few columns back we discussed how a minor Kane County Clerk property tax levy calculation glitch sent the folks in the DuPage County portion of the U-46 school district into a complete town hall tizzy. To greatly simplify matters, because Kane County U-46 homeowners were undercharged, given the vagaries of multi-county school districts, their DuPage County counterparts were equally and oppositely overcharged.
This trend will reverse itself next year, which, of course, will set off a whole new round of taxpayer fireworks. Having finally worked itself out, then everything will get back to taxation equilibrium. Again, if you want all the gory details, Courier-News reporter Dave Gathman has got it covered pretty well.
The main point of my previous piece was, through no fault of their own, U-46 found itself mired in the very psychological definition of displaced aggression. Put more simply, instead of taking it out on the Clerk’s office, those irate DuPage residents were getting ready to lynch various and sundry administrators and school board members.
Ah! But the good news is, the Clerk’s office did, indeed, send an emissary to this week’s board meeting who absolved U-46 of any responsibility for this tax imbalance faux pas. He then went on to explain exactly how this scenario would work itself out.
The problem is, the swift and appropriate imposition of the truth has never prevented any red blooded American citizen from coming up with a conspiracy theory that will prevent them from having to adjust their own reality.
In other words, the Bible was wrong, the truth did not set U-46 free.
Though their tax burden will relent, that generally DuPage board meeting crowd insisted upon blaming the district for everything short of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. (I hear he’s buried in State Sen. Mike Noland’s back yard!) I even went as far as checking in with some of the applicable local state legislative offices only to confirm they too were fielding calls from outraged DuPage constituents.
So I decided to do a little research which is always a dangerous thing. It took just a few clicks on the DuPage County Clerk’s website to determine that just 4,551 out of a possible 24,375 applicable residents voted in the 2013 U-46 school board race. That comes out to a whopping 18.67 percent participation in the process.
And there were six candidates vying for three positions so don’t give me any of that not having a real choice crap.
To put that paltry turnout into perspective, if an NBA bench player managed an 18 percent FGP, they’d be gone. Chicago Cubs pitchers get on base at a better than 18 percent clip, and even Fox News gets it right more than 18 percent of the time (but not by much).
It ain’t that these suddenly hyperactive DuPage folks tend to shy away from polling places either. When motivated by the prospect of a second Barack Obama term, an amazing 72 percent of ‘em managed to extract their ample asses from the couch in 2012!
The irony there is, as Mitt Romney so eloquently established, while almost half of Americans don’t pay any income tax, every last one of them, even renters, pay property taxes. And unless you’re making 1 percent kinda money, your annual property tax remittance is much more brutal on your bank account than the IRS.
So now these DuPage residents, who probably couldn’t tell you what a consolidated election is, are bitterly complaining about a temporary tax hike that U-46 had nothing to do with. Only in America!
But since I’m feelin’ particularly magnanimous this morning, let’s say the folks who’ve attended all these town halls actually voted at a 33 percent rate. Faced with yet another angry DuPage crowd, were I a U-46 administrator, after the first three constituents complained, I’d briefly note that only one of them actually voted, flip the entire gallery the double bird, and declare that I didn’t want to hear a goddamn thing from anyone who didn’t weigh in on it when they actually had the real chance to do so.
And I’d have an alphabetical 2013 voter list, readily available from any County Clerk’s office, sittin’ right next to me.
When you refuse to vote in local elections, you’re telling those taxing bodies they’re doing great! When you refuse to vote in local elections, those boards start to believe that nobody’s watching. When you refuse to vote in local elections your taxes will go up.
Because the bulk of the 18 percent who actually voted probably did so because they have children in those schools and they’re OK with a higher tax levy.
Even if this tax error never happened, my contention stands. None of you bleepin’ vote when it really matters! The 2013 Kane County U-46 board vote turnout (12.27 percent) and Cook County’s showing (12.01 percent), actually make those abysmal DuPage numbers look pretty good!
So! To 19,824 of my finest DuPage County friends I say this. Leave U-46 alone! If you really want to give the person responsible for your higher property tax bill what for, I would humbly suggest you locate the nearest mirror, point your index finger directly at that gleaming visage, and have at it!
That prospect may not sit too well with you, but I’m getting downright giddy just thinking about it!