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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Thoms: "I demand that the General Assembly repeal the SAFE-T Act immediately before it’s too late"

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Rock Island Mayor and State Senate candidate Mike Thoms weighed in on the potential impacts of the Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equality Today (SAFE-T) Act through a statement provided to Rock Island Today.

“The SAFE-T Act is one of the worst pieces of legislation that Springfield politicians like [State Representative] Mike Halpin have ever created," Thoms said. "This dangerous law will embolden violent criminals, letting them off easy and dumping them back into our communities before a trial can be held. Now that local governments are being forced to implement the law, they have no other option but to pass the millions of dollars in mandated costs on to taxpayers."

"When this dangerous law takes effect, residents of Western Illinois will have to pay the government more of their hard-earned money and will be less safe because of it – completely unacceptable. Halpin’s support for the SAFE-T Act is disqualifying. I demand that the General Assembly repeal the SAFE-T Act immediately before it’s too late,” Thoms continued.

According to a Telegraph article, Illinois Republicans discussed the SAFE-T Act and property taxes at an Edwardsville press conference on Monday. Elected officials and candidates alike argued that the Act won't make citizens safer and will cost them more in taxes. During the conference, Madison County Treasurer Chris Slusser discussed his county's success in lowering property taxes and seeing record returns on county investments, valued at approximately $4 million to $6 million annually, offsetting property taxes. Slusser also stated that Madison County Clerk Thomas McRae is worried about the SAFE-T Act possibly causing an increase of $1 - $2 million in personnel costs.

"I don't want to see all of those record gains get overturned, taken away, and wiped out by a law that should have never been passed in the first place," Slusser said.

The Center Square reported that the Kane County Board is discussing its first property tax hike in a decade, which is allegedly needed to resolve a $3 million deficit created by unfunded mandated reforms in the Act.

“This is not the time to add to our highest in the nation overall tax burden,” Republican State Representative Keith Wheeler said. “The Democratic-majority SAFE-T Act is literally forcing our local governments to consider raising property taxes to make our communities less safe.”

In addition, DuPage County expects the SAFE-T Act to cost $63 over the course of five years to implement, according to ABC7.

Provisions of the SAFE-T Act include prohibiting police officers from reviewing their own body camera video prior to writing a report and requiring body cameras for all law enforcement agencies by 2025, regardless of whether funding is made available or not.

According to Just the News, 100 of 102 Illinois State's Attorneys oppose the SAFE-T Act, and multiple, such as Kankakee County's Jim Rowe, have filed lawsuits attempting to stop the Act's implementation. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker's office criticized Rowe's lawsuit, referring to it as a "weak attempt to protect the status quo that lets murderers and abusers pay their way out of jail." However, Center Square reported that Pritzker is open to "making changes to the language" if it helps people understand the bill and keeps the state safe.

"One thing I think is reasonable is there are people who do not understand the SAFE-T Act and are misrepresenting it," Pritzker said at a campaign stop in Springfield on September 29. "So making changes to the language is such, so that people will understand."

Mike Thoms is the current mayor of and lifelong resident of Rock Island, as well as a father, grandfather, and small business leader. Prior to entering politics, Thoms spent 30 years working his way up at the family business, Thoms-Proestler Company (TPC), eventually gaining the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO). Thoms has a non-partisan and collaborative governing style with an emphasis on forming and maintaining public-private partnerships.

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