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“Brave Dialogue” TV show guests explain why Southland needs economic development incenti

SSMMA Executive Director Kristi DeLaurentiis on 10-15-18 Brave Dialogue Panel Discussion

The best way to help Southland homeowners crushed by high residential property tax bills is to attract more businesses to the region.

Tax rates are high because the region lacks commercial and industrial developments compared to other parts of Cook County. Towns struggle to attract new business investment because tax rates are high. It’s a catch 22 that threatens to make the south suburbs even less attractive to potential new residents.

Those were among key takeaways from a panel discussion [Ted Slowik] participated in on Oct. 15 with South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association Executive Director Kristi DeLaurentiis and South Holland Economic Development Director John Watson. Jeff Cohn hosted the discussion, which was recorded for his TV show “Brave Dialogue.” The 30-minute public access program airs at 8:30 p.m. every Friday on Comcast Channel 19 in Homewood and about 70 other south suburban communities… Please click here to read Ted Slowik’s column in the Tribune/Daily Southtown.

The 10-15-18 Brave Dialogue videos can be viewed online by clicking the following links: Part 1-1 Part 1-2 Part 2-1 Part 2-2

Back in August, SSMMA President Vernard Alsberry expressed in a blog post entitled “Cook County Prevailing Wage Advisory Task Force” that he was dismayed by the group’s lack of meaningful, substantial consideration of ways to address the unintended consequences of the Prevailing Wage Amendment that took effect on Sept. 1, 2018: increased labor costs for private businesses that receive the incentives. The Cook County Board formed the task force in response to the Southland’s widespread and vocal opposition to the ordinance that was passed last March. In response to the Task Force’s failure to act, four municipalities–Hazel Crest, Midlothian, Richton Park and Thornton–placed a non-binding referendum question on the upcoming Nov. 6 ballot asking voters  whether Cook County should “create and maintain a tax incentive program that results in lower property tax bills and reduces the tax burden on local property owners and taxpayers.” See “Local referendums for Southland voters on the November ballot.” There’s also a related piece written by reporter Hal Dardick, “‘A perfect tax storm in the south suburbs’: Property tax breaks backfire on some homeowners” in the Tribune.

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