Three key concerns for Madison County Chairman candidate Chris Slusser are property taxes, economic development, and trash issues. He visited with C.J. Nasello, the host of Our Daily Show! on Riverbender.com recently. The other candidate for the chairman position, incumbent Kurt Prenzler, will be interviewed soon on the show and also have stories posted about his appearance.

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EDWARDSVILLE - Madison County Chairman candidate Chris Slusser, the incumbent county treasurer, gets many visits from patrons to his office about property taxes. Many want reform in this area and if he is elected, he plans to make this a top priority.

Chris Slusser“We have to expand the tax base so don’t have to increase property taxes,” Slusser said. He also said adding more manufacturing and business to the area would help regarding property taxes.

“I feel we have missed some opportunities with economic development,” he said. Slusser will converse more on the country and economic development in the next story.

Slusser said pension funding is very heavily reliant on property tax dollars and schools are also heavily reliant on them, too.

Slusser has publicly spoken that he admires some of the work done in Indiana to reduce property taxes and would like to see something similar done in Illinois.

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“We don’t have mountains or beaches and we are losing retirees because of our high property taxes,” he said.

The county chairman candidate said for years property taxes in Illinois were rigged because of previous House Speaker Mike Madigan, who was speaker for 35-40 years. He was also a property tax appeals lawyer, Slusser said. Slusser believes with Madigan out, there is more potential for Illinois to have property tax reform and he said if elected chairman, he would make that one of his prime points to lobby for changes.

Slusser explained that Indiana did a comprehensive study and determined the problem was that school funding was too reliant on property taxes. They did the math and determined if sales tax was raised by one percent, it would be enough to fund the day-to-day operations of schools and local police and fire pensions. He also added that the math might not exactly work the same in Illinois, but he is a big proponent of changing the overall funding of property taxes and would work with officials statewide in this matter.

He also said it is important to develop a more comprehensive economic development plan with the cities in the county so they aren’t competing against one another.

“With more cooperation with cities, it benefits every community,” he said.

Madison County is much like the City of Alton and its wards with several cities and Slusser said one of his goals is to make sure cities are working well together with the county.

“I would like to develop an economic development plan that is more regional,” he said.

On Friday, Slusser talks more about economic development and attracting new business to the county in a story from his next Our Daily Show! interview.

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