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Unjust Compensation

Twenty-five years ago, the village of Machesney Park, Illinois, did not exist.  Today, it is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the state: This spring, the village will pay $143,000 for a special census to determine how far the population has risen above its 2000 Census level of 20,759.  Village officials estimate that 1,400 people have moved to the community; according to the Rockford Register Star, that would mean that Machesney Park would receive an additional $154,000 in “state income, motor-fuel and use taxes.”  The revenue is eagerly awaited by village officials, who proudly proclaim on the village’s website (www.machesney-park.il.us) that they have “never levied a local property tax.”

Compared with Rockford, its much-larger neighbor to the south whose municipal property-tax rate is $2.23 per $100 of assessed value, Machesney Park seems like a libertarian paradise.  Municipal services and infrastructure improvements are funded by fees and by a one-percent sales-tax levy (as well as state tax distributions and the occasional state grant, especially for roads).  This “pay as you go” form of government, of course, still does not satisfy the strictest of libertarians, but those who live within reality understand that local government is here to stay.

And from the standpoint of the modern American capitalist, what’s not...

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