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Prenzler wants property tax limit on November ballot

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler is proposing a limit on property tax growth and wants it on the ballot in November.

“Property taxes are out of control,” Prenzler said. “I want to give the voters an opportunity to do something about it.”

Prenzler is calling a special meeting of the County Board for Wednesday at 5 p.m. to place a Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) referendum on the November ballot.

“This year, as the result of businesses being shut down due to COVID, taxpayers deserve this option more than ever,” he said.

PTELL started in 1991 and is the law in 39 counties, home of about 80 percent of the population of Illinois. In April 1999, Madison County voters rejected a referendum to enact PTELL.

There are more than 220 districts in the county with the power to levy taxes, he said.

About two-thirds of property taxes go to public schools and community colleges, with less than 8 percent going to county government, he said.

“The county board cannot force other taxing districts to reduce their taxes, but it can put PTELL on the ballot for voters to decide,” Prenzler said. “And I believe voters should have that choice.”

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, PTELL “is designed to limit the increases in property tax extensions (total taxes billed) for non-home rule taxing districts.”

PTELL caps the total dollar amount certain property taxes may increase year to year by the lesser of a) CPI (Consumer Price Index) or b) 5 percent. Increases beyond that require voter approval.

Prenzler said he knows some will oppose PTELL.

“Property taxes are a complex issue — often pitting taxpayers against jurisdictions,” he said. “But it’s one tool in the toolbox, and taxpayers should have the choice whether to use this tool or not.”

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