McLean County Democrats support Unit 5 School District tax referendum

Cloquet, MN
Cloquet, MN(KBJR/CBS3 Duluth)
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 9:43 PM CDT
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MCLEAN COUNTY (25 News Now) - The two major political parties in McLean County have now weighed in on a tax referendum for the county’s largest school district.

McLean County Democrats meeting Tuesday night voted to accept the party’s executive committee recommendation urging voters to vote yes on the proposal, conflicting with the McLean County Republican Party’s recommendation to reject the referendum.

Unit 5 voters in Unit 5 will decide in the November election whether to approve raising the district’s education fund tax rate 88 cents to $3.60 per $100 of a property’s value.

The “Yes for Unit 5″ committee claims the referendum, if approved, will actually reduce the overall tax rate because working cash bonds previously used to fill budget holes will be allowed to expire. The group says the tax rate will drop 70 cents starting in 2026, saving property taxpayers an average $420 a year.

McLean County Democratic Party Chair Patrick Cortesi issued a statement in a news release.

“I’ve said before that I really believe in our teachers and our educators. As a party, we know this community needs to do whatever it takes to make sure they have the resources and tools they need to be successful. And, knowing we can support our schools, students and educators while at the same time reducing the tax burden on the average taxpayer makes it a win for everyone in the community,”

On October 5, McLean County Republicans announced they are opposed to the referendum.

The local GOP calls for Unit 5 to cut “non-essential” spending before asking voters for more money.

“Reduce the bloated administrative overhead and eliminate unnecessary extracurricular activities before asking for more of our tax dollars,” the GOP said in a statement.

“The cost of energy, building materials, food, commodities, and everything else has gone up. As a result, we all have less disposable income. Now is not the time to reduce our income even further by adding a new tax. It’s time for a bit of belt-tightening, making do with what we have. We all have to do it, and Unit 5 should too,” the GOP statement also said.

Local Democrats Wednesday night also urged passage of Illinois’ Workers’ Rights Amendment. The local GOP is opposed to the amendment.