By Josh Altic
Most of today's local ballot measures are being decided in Illinois, where there are over a hundred propositions waiting for the voters' decision in towns, cities, counties and school districts across the state.
Addison Township in Illinois is requesting that voters authorize switching the responsibility for the pension costs of the local school district from the state of Illinois to the property tax payers of the district. Also waiting the decision of the voters is over $112 million in requested school bond money.
In California, there are only seven measures, three of which are recall elections for the Coastside Fire Protection District in San Mateo County. The remaining four measures deal with parcel taxes, business taxes and utility taxes in different cities of Los Angeles county.
Florida's election features six ballot measures across three counties. Four measures are city charter amendments dealing with term limits and city governance. One measure seeks to authorize an electric franchise and the remaining measure asks Defuniak Springs voters if they want to abolish the right of the Mayor to decide tie votes in city council meetings.
Below is a break down of the elections:
- See also: School bond and tax elections in Illinois
Illinois mandates school districts to hold elections issuing bonding for new construction and capital improvements, exceeding the property tax cap, or create a working cash fund. Since 2006, Illinois has had referendums over the property tax cap which is governed under the Illinois Property Tax Cap Act of 2006 which requires voter approval if a school district wants to exceed their property tax cap for up to four years. The other type of referendum is a Chapter 20 referendum. Under Chapter 20, a school district must have voter approval if the voters petition a school district to create a working cash fund to pay liabilities. Only school districts that serve a city, town, or village less than 500,000 in population can hold a Chapter 20 referendum.
In multiple areas in Illinois, local ballots have an advisory question about Pension reforms at the state level for public employees. Though the State General Assembly sees it as a much larger issue that cannot be easily fixed by a simple ballot question, especially one which has no power. The pension fund has suffered greatly due tot he recession and has become expensive to maintain. Lawmakers have proposed the idea of a bill to reform the system already, but outsiders feel that it still would not address the many flaws of the system. Similar measures to change how municipal pensions are funded was passed, but one addressing fire and police officers was not able to get through. Though members of both are hoping for positive results on the advisory question, hoping that the State government will get the picture that residents do what a comprehensive reform of the system to be undertaken.