Why I am running for Cook County Treasurer
To explain why I am running for Cook County Treasurer, let’s start with my 2015 property tax bill from the Cook County Treasurer's Office -- 2016’s final bill won’t be available until later in 2017. In its current form, the below statement says little about how property tax dollars impact one's neighborhood, home and family.
Plain and simple, the above statement is completely inadequate and Cook County taxpayers deserve more from their Treasurer. Given the abundance of publicly available information and readily accessible technology, there is no excuse for the lack of useful information that Cook County taxpayers currently receive from their Treasurer.
$146.37 of my property taxes went to the Chicago Library Fund, so how much went to the branches of the library near my home? $1,868.56 went to the City of Chicago, but how much went to the Chicago Police Department, specifically the police district in which I live? Questions like that should be answered by the Cook County Treasurer, but for that to happen there must be a vision for what taxpayers rightfully deserve and the leadership to continuously deliver greater value to Cook County’s taxpayers.
As recently as 2014, President Obama's White House produced a Taxpayer Receipt to provide individuals with a detailed and useful breakdown of how their income taxes were allocated by the federal government. I remain inspired by President Obama's initiative and the promise of useful information driving informed discourse and enhanced civic engagement between the public and those elected to represent their best interest.
As a CPA, who has closely examined the information provided by to taxpayers by the Cook County Treasurer and the related data that is scattered across multiple city and county supported websites, I am running to overhaul the information readily available to taxpayers, who should be able to quickly and clearly see how much of their tax bill is going to their local services, such as:
Health and wellness services
Transportation services and improvements
Elected official’s discretionary funds
Where funds are going if captured by a Tax Increment Financing district (TIF) or a Special Service Area (SSA). By the way, there are currently 146 TIFs in Cook County. If you live in one, do you know how your tax dollars are being used, and if you agree with the use?
The public is overdue for innovative leadership in the Cook County Treasurer’s office. I am running for Cook County's property taxpayers, both renters and property owners, and the information they deserve about how their tax dollars affect them and their loved ones on a local level. I am running for taxpayers to more easily see how the official(s) elected to represent them voted to spend their tax dollars. Transparency is hollow without accountability, and it is the responsibility of the Cook County Treasurer to provide taxpayers with both.