Edwardsville mayor says taxes need to reflect good government services
Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton believes taxes are like an onion: there are many layers that need to be peeled away.
“If you peel away the layer of this onion you’ll see multiple things here. You will see a situation where we have too many layers but you will also see a lot of mandates that were put on different areas that affect the property taxes,” Patton told the Metro East Sun.
Referring to his community of about 25,000 residents, Patton said most were willing to pay higher taxes in exchange for community safety, good roads and quality schools.
“This new school funding reform that took place does very, very little for the city of Edwardsville,” he said. “We had a referendum and the majority of the voters in that referendum approved the increase to pay more property tax to take care of the school district to a level of expectation that we have.”
Patton made the comments after a Truth in Accounting report listed Illinois as 49th in terms of taxpayer burden.
Researchers at the nonprofit organization also estimated the average resident in Illinois has $50,400 in tax debt. Their report also claimed the state has $235.9 billion in liabilities and only $25.5 billion in assets.
Patton said the amount of taxes residents pay needs to be reflected in good government services.
“That is how I have thought of it as well: how can you give people the best value for their buck? If you go to a restaurant, you want the best food for the best price. If you go to a doctor’s office you want good service. You want to make sure the money you are paying for those services you feel like you are getting something back.
“Government needs to have that same responsiveness," he said. "We need to realize that these residents are our customers. We are providing the best possible public safety. The best possible roads. The best possible parks, water, sewer.”
Patton is running against Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) in the 56th Senate District, which includes O’Fallon, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Wood River, Alton and Godfrey.