Ian Peak on the Issues


  1. Property Taxes
    • From an economic standpoint, property taxes take money out of the economy and drive up the cost of living for renters and homeowners alike.
    • From a moral standpoint, property taxation is the most unjust form of taxation. So long as property taxes exist, one never truly owns their property.
    • For a freer and more prosperous economy to exist, property taxes must be as low as possible.
    • Residents of Jefferson County pay more in property taxes than 94% of the rest of the state of Illinois. This is because Jefferson County has 99 taxing bodies, while the state average – the highest in the nation – is only 68.
    • My top priority for reducing taxing bodies is to dissolve the 16 townships in Jefferson County. This will eliminate an entire layer of bureaucracy. Duties once performed by the townships will be absorbed by the municipalities and the County Board. Without the administrative costs of running 16 townships, these duties can be performed at a lessened cost.  Achieving this would eliminate 48 different taxing bodies. As for the remaining 51 taxing bodies, if elected, I will work with the rest of the County Board to identify, consolidate, and eliminate any remaining redundant taxing bodies.
    • In order to get closer to the national average, without leaving anything underfunded, redundant and unnecessary taxing bodies must be consolidated and eliminated.

     

  2. Wasteful Spending
    • Reducing taxation without reducing spending leads to deficits, and deficits lead to increased taxation. While my plan to eliminate taxing bodies simultaneously reduces taxes and spending, wasteful spending must be addressed to keep property taxes down for good.
    • Last year, the County Clerk’s office was budgeted $5,000 for book binding. In the year 2018, records should be stored electronically. The County Board spends thousands on cell phones, uniforms, and pagers for county employees. While we should make sure that our employees have the tools they need to do their job, these expenses often fall on the employee in the private sector. These are just two examples. There are many opportunities to cut spending without leaving any department underfunded.
    • I will seek out these cost-saving opportunities, and work with other county board members to cut costs wherever possible, to combat wasteful spending.

     

  3. Jail/Bail Reform
    • The court system is the biggest line item in the Jefferson County budget. One major contributor to this is the cost of housing prisoners who can’t afford their bail. People who have been charged with nonviolent crimes, who cannot afford bail, sit in a jail cell while they await their trial. Not only is this unjust for a minor, victimless offense, but it’s expensive.
    • I will work to implement a policy that allows nonviolent criminals who can’t afford bail to be issued an ankle bracelet.  This ensures they do not flee while eliminating the need to house them in jail until their trial. If they can afford to make bail, they’ll be released in the same manner as they are now.

     

  4. Infrastructure
    • Many of the roads in Jefferson County are in a state of disrepair. I will work to implement an online mechanism for reporting potholes and damaged road, such as the one currently employed by the City of Mount Vernon.
    • New roads should be built with concrete, rather than asphalt. Concrete is costlier initially, but as they need far fewer repairs than asphalt, in the long run its durability saves taxpayers money.
    • My plan for dissolving the townships will put village/city councils and the County Board under more pressure to act on these reports quickly, as they’ll be directly responsible to the voters for overseeing road maintenance.