Eye On Illinois: Comptroller’s website soon to present info on every taxing body

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Knowledge is power, and one new state law steps boldly in that direction with zero legislative resistance.

House Bill 568 passed the state House on the consent calendar in March and the Senate, 56-0, (with three no votes) in April. With a signature from the governor May 27, the law amends the State Comptroller Act authorizing the office to build and maintain an interactive map providing “the location and annual financial information of taxing bodies” statewide.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, so it remains to be seen when illinoiscomptroller.gov will have the map up and running, but it’s not too early to celebrate the commonsense logic behind an effort to present public data in a format that actually makes sense to the public rather than the conventional approach of shielding information under layers of bureaucratic language.

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland

Making the data map-based should go a long way toward mitigating the effort required to wade through almost 9,000 taxing bodies to find just the right one. But macro details like the total amount levied still leave plenty of finer points unaddressed – where the money comes from and where it goes chief among them – so getting a really firm grasp on your local city council or library board budget still requires taxpayer initiative and a handy mumbo-jumbo translator.

While some taxing bodies go above and beyond in terms of making information accessible and discernible, too many are content to meet the minimum legal requirements. Hopefully this new effort inspires future legislation to enhance access and understanding of important details concerning public spending.

ON THIS DAY: Hollywood star Audrey Totter was born 105 years ago today in Joliet. A biography on the website Hometowns to Hollywood labeled her “one of the greatest leading ladies in the film noir genre” and recounts details of her early days in Joliet with parents John and Ida Mae, sister Collette and brothers Folger and George. When Trotter died eight days shy of her 96th birthday in 2013, the Herald-News obituary by Tina Akouris included George’s story about the future star of sound, stage and screen being denied a role in the Joliet High School senior play only for the same teacher, years later, to say he always knew she’d make it big.

That disappointment notwithstanding, Totter acted and played violin throughout high school (she joined the taxidermy club her junior year), became a touring stage actor in the late 1930s and did radio work in Chicago before moving to New York and eventually Los Angeles after signing a deal with MGM. Her biggest role is perhaps playing Adrienne Fromsett in the 1947 thriller “Lady in the Lake.” Her final role was a 1987 guest appearance on “Murder, She Wrote.”

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.

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December 20, 2022 at 05:18AM

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