Property taxes and job creation are two of the top issues in the race for who will succeed retiring state legislator Kay Hatcher in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Former Yorkville Mayor Valerie Burd, a Democrat, is running against Republican and small business owner Keith Wheeler of Oswego for the seat in the Nov. 4 general election. Hatcher, R-Yorkville, has served the 50th District since 2009.
The 50th District covers much of southwest Kane County and northern Kendall County, including Sugar Grove, Elburn, Campton Hills and Yorkville, as well as portions of St. Charles, Batavia, North Aurora, Aurora, Montgomery and Oswego.
Burd, 67, recently kicked off her “Walking Around the 50th” campaign at a Campton Hills Village Board meeting. If elected, Burd said she would strive to make the property tax system more fair.
“It’s not an equitable tax,” Burd said. “It just isn’t. It doesn’t take into account people’s incomes. I understand about people trying to retire on the money that they have saved up, and the property taxes keep going up and up, and they can’t stay in their homes. They have to leave and go to a place where the property taxes are much less.”
Burd said school funding also needs to be examined.
“Education is 60 percent of the property taxes in Yorkville,” Burd said. “That doesn’t mean that I don’t think there should be local control of education. But I think education is the focus of maybe the property tax problem.”
Wheeler, 47, said he also has been out talking to people in the 50th District.
“There’s a lot of unhappiness with the status quo in Springfield,” Wheeler said. “Sometimes it’s just letting people vent for a few minutes about what they are upset about. It’s a myriad of things, from pensions to education. People want something different. They want some action.”
One of Wheeler’s top goals, if elected, is to help create more jobs in Illinois. He is a small business owner.
“Springfield is making it more difficult to be in business in Illinois, which makes it more difficult to hire people,” Wheeler said. “I have a different background than most because I’ve dealt with that as an employer for the last 22 years.”