Monday, May 16, 2016

Morning Spin: State lawmaker ducks potential Rauner-backed challenge



Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo announced Sunday he won't seek re-election to the Illinois House and instead will run for McHenry County Board president.

Franks sought to portray the long-rumored move as a result of frustration over the lack of a state budget. But as a Democrat holding a seat in Republican territory, Franks was potentially a target of Republican Gov. Rauner and his allies this fall.

Rauner is trying to pick off as many House Democrats as he can this year and in 2018 to dethrone Speaker Michael Madigan, his chief nemesis at the state Capitol. It's an uphill struggle for Rauner this fall, as he faces a political landscape that includes a Madigan-drawn legislative map, a presidential year when Democrats turn out in greater numbers and the prospect of Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket.

For Franks, running for County Board president allows him to sidestep a possible Rauner-funded challenge. While Franks got 58 percent in 2014, Rauner easily carried the district. It's Republican territory, but Franks was able to use family name recognition to hold onto the seat since first winning it in 1998.

Democrats now have to find someone to run for Franks' House seat against Republican attorney Steven Reick of Harvard, who lost to Franks in 2014 but is backed by the House GOP fund. Franks draws Republican Mike Walkup, a County Board member from Crystal Lake. It's the first time McHenry County voters are directly electing the chairman, who used to be chosen from among the County Board members. Franks can try to use his name ID and the $570,000 or so available in his campaign fund to win a local board chairman race.

Above is from:

How much do Boone County Employees earn?


Last year’s wages and benefits are all on the county website, arranged by department.



Below is the first page of the nine page report.


Tax Revenue from Great Lake Basis RR


In response to numerous questions regarding property taxes paid by railroads, I have compiled
some general information on the railroads currently operating in Boone County and the Great
Lakes Basin Railroad being proposed.
Boone County currently has two operating railroads and their 2015 tax bills (payable this year)
are summarized as follows:
As track passes through multiple taxing districts, the tax bill is calculated based on the mileage of
track in each district. The
revenue for a given taxing district is based on the miles of track
existing in that district, the assessment per mile, and the district's tax rate.
The width of the right-of-way for existing track in Boone County is typically 1 00 feet. The land
area consumed by a 1 00 ft. wide right-of-way is about 12.1 acres per mile of track, for a total area
of approximately 429 acres in Boone County. This computes to an average assessment of
$10,564 per acre and an average tax bill of $1,128 per acre.
For comparison, the average assessment for cropland in Boone County is $308 per acre, with an
average tax bill around $35 per acre. 429 acres of cropland would have a total tax bill around
$15,000 depending on the specific districts involved and their tax rates.
Proposed GLB Railroad
The current proposal is for approximately 33 miles of right-of-way, 200 feet wide. This would
consume approximately 800 acres of land.
Railroad property is assessed by the State of Illinois and involves multiple factors. There are
three methods used to evaluate railroad property:
1. The cost approach (what it costs to build the railroad)
2. The income approach (revenue generated by the track for its owner)
3. The stock & debt approach (factors pertaining to the railroad company's balance sheet)
If a railroad were built by an upstart corporation with no record of operating revenue, the initial
assessment would be based mostly on the cost approach and would be very high. However, as
time goes on, the assessment would be based mostly on the company's profitability and could be
much lower per mile of track than the railroads we currently have.
In other words, estimating future assessments and tax revenue from a proposed railroad would
require a crystal ball. I think it's a safe bet that a new railroad would generate more property tax
revenue than the farmland it replaces. Beyond that, there are too many unknowns to speculate
on the dollar amounts.

Above is from:$file/Railroad%20Tax%20Information_201605061358.pdf