Trifecta tax hike tough sell in Rock Island county

Dr. Ahmed Okba still works in Illinois, but moved from Rock Island County to the Iowa side of the Quad Cities, and is glad he did.

“They’re taxing people to death,” Dr. Okba said.  “People are running away from the state and to Iowa.”

Coming this spring to a ballot near you, Rock Island County residents may be asked to vote on three different referendums asking for tax hikes and bonds to bail out Hope Creek Nursing Home, build a new county jail, and subsidize public safety.

County clerk Karen Kinney called the tax trifecta ‘unprecedented.’

“We went back 25 years and couldn’t find a ballot with three referendums like this on the ballot,” Kinney said. “It’s a lot.”

Three is the maximum allowed by law, according to Rock Island County State’s Attorney John McGehee.

“Each taxing body can have three particular referendum. So that means the county could have three, the township could have three, etc,” he said. “Up to three on a ballot.”

For taxpayers like Linda Pickett, that’s two more than she can handle at once.

“Of course, if there was only one, I’d be more open. It’s asking too much. Things are tough with everybody, let alone adding more taxes,” she said.

Homeowners in the county will likely be asked for more money on four different referendums, the three in the county and a sales tax for area schools.

In the case of Hope Creek, residents with a $150,000 home would pay more than $80 more per year.

For the former resident who left Illinois behind, he says its time for the county and state to make some tough decisions.

“Look at Bettendorf. Can’t they learn? It’s not like Russia. It’s just across the bridge. They know how to use the money. Look at here. Look at Moline. Look at Rock Island,” he said. “If they don’t get their stuff together, it’s going to be like Detroit.”

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