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* Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) writing in the Kankakee Daily Journal…
As the Illinois Legislature searches for ways to provide taxpayers relief, everything must be on the table.
That is why I have introduced House Bill 261, which will remove the state unfunded mandate requiring local units of government to publish public notices in newspapers. HB 261 will save local units of government and taxpayers’ money by allowing public notices to be placed on government websites instead of in newspapers. […]
One quick example that happens all over Illinois: Boone County spent more than $17,000 in 2013 on assessment publications for property taxpayers who had an assessed value change. That’s $17,000 to publish assessment information. Currently, a resident receives notification in the mail of changes in assessed value and Boone County has property assessment information on their website every day.
We should not financially punish local governments that are accountable and transparent to their taxpayers; therefore, why do we require local governments to pay more to put this information in the newspaper that will be published and viewable only once?
The answer is the newspapers lobby. Yes they have lobbyists in Springfield looking to get their cut of taxpayer money. The newspaper lobby claims they are increasing accountability and transparency by fighting for these types of notices to be filed in the paper. Articles written by some journalists claim my proposal will decrease government transparency. That is utterly false.
The only thing that will be affected is the profits of newspapers. It’s not the taxpayer’s responsibility to keep newspapers afloat. If we are being serious, how many of us are avidly searching their local weekly newspaper to find a fire protection district budget, school annual statement of affairs, taxpayer property ID numbers, etc.? If you miss it, it is not printed again, whereas if the notice was posted online it would be available all the time and readily available for public viewing.
posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Mar 3, 15 @ 12:20 pm
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