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State Rep. David McSweeney

Some Illinois lawmakers want to get out in front of a civic group’s proposal to tax retirement income

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago recently proposed a plan to pay down Illinois’ underfunded pension debt and balance the budget through a number of tax hikes and revenue grabs that included classifying retirement and pension payouts as regular income. Illinois doesn’t tax retirement income.

State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, filed House Resolution 32 in attempt to forestall any bill that would tax such income. The bill, filed in January, says “we state our belief that the Illinois Income Tax Act should not be amended to permit taxing retirement income.”

Since the suggestion was made to tax retirement income, McSweeney’s measure has picked up sponsors Sam Yingling, Jonathan Carroll and Jerry Costello II, all Democrats, along with Plainfield Republican Mark Batinick.

Read more from the Illinois News Network here.

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Barrington Township Trustee Fritz Gohl

There’s new hope in Springfield for putting power into the hands of voters when it comes to controlling and trimming their governments.

At nearly 6,963 units, Illinois has more governmental bodies and bureaucracies than any other state in the nation. Texas and Pennsylvania are next, according to the website Governing and they have only 5,147 and 4,897, respectively.

And while there’s been some momentum in recent years around merging governments, streamlining and setting up processes for dissolving bodies like sanitary and mosquito abatement districts in Illinois, the processes largely have been complicated or left in the control of public officials — some of whom, obviously, have a self-interest in keeping governments operating and themselves employed.

Read more from the Chicago Sun-Times here.

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Seven referendums will appear on Lake County ballots for this spring’s consolidated local election.   The proposals include funding requests for school construction, water system improvements and fire department vehicles.

Election Day is April 2. Voting by mail begins March 8.  Early voting begins March 18.  Here are the issues:

Barrington schools

Barrington Unit District 220 voters will decide whether the school board should borrow $185 million for a variety of facility improvements.

All District 220 schools would receive security boosts and basic improvements, such as bathroom repairs and heating and air conditioning system upgrades.

The plan also calls for a new fine arts center at Barrington High School and a library renovation there, among other projects.

If approved, the owner of a house valued at $500,000 would pay about $97 more in property taxes to the district the first year.

Read more here:

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members have given an early thumbs-up to an idea of creating an outdoor classroom.

Under the tentative proposal, the outdoor learning space would be in a conservation area just west of Hart Road across from Barrington High School’s stadium. The project would be on a portion of undeveloped land that District 220 owns west of Hart.

District 220’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, John Bruesch, said during a recent presentation the goal is to launch the outdoor laboratory in the 2021-22 academic year. He said the project could cost up to $750,000, with public and private funding sources covering the tab.

At a meeting this week, the District 220 board indicated a willingness to set aside $50,000 in the current summer projects budget for a surveyor and consultant to define the scope of what could be done on the Hart Road property. Formal approval is needed for the proposed expenditure.

Read more here.

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A campaign dubbed “Healthy Hedges” is being rolled out to arm nonprofessionals with information to deal with buckthorn and options to replace it.

“This is a key conservation goal across the region,” said Allison Frederick, assistant public affairs manager for the Lake County Forest Preserve District. “We’re joining forces to make this truly a movement to eradicate buckthorn wherever possible.”

The district and the Morton Arboretum through its Chicago Regional Tree Initiative, Forest Preserves of Cook CountyBarrington Area Conservation TrustIllinois Landscape Contractors Association, independent contractors and others are working to improve the health of backyards and other landscapes.

Read more here.

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Former state Rep. Nick Sauer has been charged with 12 felonies for allegedly posting private sexual photos of two people online without their permission, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.

A Lake County grand jury handed down the indictment Wednesday morning, according to a news release. Sauer’s attorney has told prosecutors that Sauer will turn himself in Thursday morning, according to the release.

The first-term Republican from Lake Barrington resigned in August as a result of the allegations made by a former girlfriend, which had been reported that day by Politico.

Read more here.

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Officials at Barrington School District 220 recently approved an increase in the district’s property tax levy that is projected to primarily cover general expenses.

During a meeting in late December, board members approved a total request of $125.1 million in property tax revenue for those expenses. Officials also are seeking an additional $13.4 million to cover debt service and building leases.

The projected increase to the district’s levy covering general expenses is estimated to cost the owner of a $500,000 home about $163 more in district property taxes next year, said Dave Bein, assistant superintendent of business services.

Read more here.

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