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I’ve told you about the non-binding referendums to be held in dozens of downstate counties designed to entice pro-gun voters to the polls, but that’s not the end of the story.

The Illinois State Rifle Association, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign and several Republican legislators have all worked to get the question on ballots in downstate counties.

But a question like that in the suburbs would run the risk of backfiring by attracting voters who might not be voting for Republican candidates. So, a different tactic was required in that part of the state.

“Shall [the county] oppose the General Assembly instituting a property tax increase equivalent to 1 percent of your home's value to help retire state debt?” is just one of the questions that will appear on ballots in Republican-controlled DuPage and Kane counties this fall.

Property taxes are already way too high in this state and are not based on the ability to pay. So, tacking on a state tax surcharge that could add as much as 50 percent to a homeowner’s local property tax bill would bring out the torches and pitchforks – and maybe even tar and feathers.

The Republicans need to counteract what looks to be a coming Democratic wave election. They have to do whatever it takes to get “their” people to the polls. And property taxes are most definitely a huge issue in the suburbs.

DuPage County will also ask its voters about a proposal to tax vehicle mileage. And several suburban Cook County townships will ask their voters a version of this question being asked in Schaumburg Township: “Should the Cook County Board of Commissioners reinstate the Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax Ordinance (also known as the Soda Tax) to fill an $82 million county budget deficit?”

Elk Grove, Palatine, Lemont and Maine townships will also ask the question.

A Rauner campaign official told me last week that voters in more than 60 counties and townships will have a chance to express their non-binding opinions on hot-button issues favorable to Republicans.

House Speaker Michael Madigan has admitted to using non-binding statewide referendums to get Democrats to the polls, including in 2014, when he added questions about increasing the minimum wage, taxing millionaires and requiring insurers to provide birth control coverage.

Rauner and the Republicans couldn’t possibly put questions favorable to them on the statewide ballot because that would require the General Assembly’s approval, so they’ve had to improvise locally. If nothing else, it at least shows some gumption on their part.

Now, to a bit of housecleaning. A couple of weeks ago I told you that Comptroller Susana Mendoza didn’t appeal a court ruling on legislator pay. That was wrong. She did appeal. I’m sorry.

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Rich Miller publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and


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