By: Mark Glennon*

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi spoke this week about property taxes to south suburban homeowners.

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi

The primary solution he focused on, according to the Chicago Tribune, is the Fair Tax — the progressive income tax increase proposed by Governor JB Pritzker. “No area of the county or state has more riding on passage of the Fair Tax Amendment than the Southland,” Kaegi said.

Few things are as easy to debunk than the claim that the Fair Tax would materially reduce property taxes. The numbers are simple. The Fair Tax simply wouldn’t raise enough to lower property taxes meaningfully. In any case, it has already been earmarked for other things several times over. And there’s the obvious matter that a new tax just isn’t a solution for the fundamental problem: high overall tax burdens.

Property tax collections are far larger than commonly known – by far the biggest source of revenue in the state. They total about $31 billion — $20 billion from residential and $11 billion from commercial and farming. That’s 50% more than the combined revenue of the state’s personal and corporate income taxes.

But the Fair Tax would raise just $3.4 billion, optimistically projected by its proponents. That means even if every penny of the Fair Tax went to property tax relief, property taxes would drop by less than 11%. That’s not much consolation for anybody in Illinois, especially Chicago’s south suburban residents. They would need a cut of over 76% just to get down to the national average, which is 1.2%. Those communities have been pummeled by impossible property taxes harder than any others in the state. Average, effective rates there exceed 5% per year.

More importantly, the $3.4 billion of new Fair Tax Revenue has already been promised away on other things, several times over. Pritzker and other supporters have said the new money will cover the increased cost of the new school funding plan, reduced pension debt, paydown of the backlog in unpaid bills and elimination of the structural budget deficit. Those total over $10 billion. The only property tax relief he has identified is an increase in a $100 million increase in the property tax credit available on income taxes, which is a pittance.

Meanwhile, the so-called “task force” on property tax relief appointed by Governor Pritzker continues to meet. The only reported action it has taken is rejection of the most obvious reform needed – a ban on lawmakers running tax appeal practices on the side. That task force has 88 members and seven subcommittees, comprised of mostly the same folks from the political establishment who created our crisis.

Kaegi apparently wasn’t the only officeholder peddling the sham relief at the town hall this week. State Rep. Debbie Meyers-Martin (D-Olympia Fields) said at the meeting, “Finally, we’ve got some order and strategy to the conversation we’ve been having for years in the south suburbs.”

No, Ms. Meyers-Martin, you don’t. You have nothing.

A tax increase isn’t a solution for high taxes. The solution, instead, is the catalog of major reforms we’ve advocated for here, including real pension reform, changes to collective bargaining laws, prevailing wage reforms and much more.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

Read more about Illinois’ property tax problems:

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joe strzalka
1 year ago

The assessor is just running for governor, cook county board president, or reelection if he has to. It’s the usual. Promise a vague, brighter future, win election, forget initial promises. Why is he even there, he should be in his office assessing. Mission creep at it’s finest. Give the southern suburbs a fair assessment of value (those wont’t be very big numbers so there’s only so much he can screw up) next year, and then go home. He’s there to figure out the tax bill, not lower it.

1 year ago

Fritz has a zero chance of being reelected in four years when he runs again. I’ve not heard a single person say anything good about him and I’m involved in the real estate world. My bet is that enough people will split their ticket and vote for a Republican for assessor to fix Fritz’s socialist ‘soak the rich’ assessments.

Governor of Alderaan
1 year ago

Jabba needs to put property tax relief in writing as part of the blank check amendment. As the CTU says, if it’s not in writing it won’t happen.

1 year ago

Was there any discussion whatsoever on schools district consolidation there are at least 11 in close proximity to Harvey. Reducing 7,000 taxing districts/cutting pension management fees,overturning PTELL/etc. Nada!! Only progressive tax will solve our problems. Listen to the Beatles song “Taxman” If you drive a car-we’ll tax the street/ If you try to sit-I’ll tax your seat/ If your getting too cold-I’ll tax the heat/ If you take a walk-we’ll tax your feet. Cause I’m the taxman ,yeah, I’m the taxman. Perfect song for Ill pols but not taxpayers!! Great song 1966- great song 2019- great song 3019

Illinois Entrepreneur
1 year ago

The Progressive income tax is the latest shiny object that Democrats have enlisted as their distraction to the less-informed masses. “Look, if you do this, we’ll fix all that ails you.” The question is, how gullible are the people that they’re proposing this to? Will these people see past the opium effect of these charlatan priests claiming to have a fix-all and understand the math and logic? Or will they succumb and buy that intriguing bottle of snake oil? Based on human history, I’m not an optimist. The real interesting question will be what the Democrats do when it doesn’t… Read more »

1 year ago

It’s not a claim, it’s a lie. Just call it what it is. Call it a lie.

And use the liberal’s own language back at them – repeat early and often the phrase “without evidence” and called everything ‘alleged’ and ‘unsubstantiated’. you can even call this lie a ‘debunked conspiracy theory’ that our elites will use the progressive tax to lower property taxes. Don’t give these liars and cheats any credibility. They give you at Wirepoints no credibility – you don’t need to give any either.

1 year ago

In Woodstock IL the actual property tax rate has exceeded 4% of total fair market value for many years. As expected, tax rate cspitalization has devalued homes (TIF commercial properties get special treatment so have been devalued at a lesser rate). There is only one viable self defense and it lies in control of individual property owners: 1. Create a municipality from all the unincorporated property in Illinois 2. Create a TIF-for-All in that Village wherein every single property is included (this nullifies political corruption temptation). 3. Rebate all TIF payments back to PINs responsible for the payments. Let each… Read more »

1 year ago

I think a reasonable goal for the effective property tax rate should be 1.5%. That would make Illinois the 13/14th highest state in the country, putting us in top quarter percentile. Then no one could argue that we weren’t paying our fair share, anti-tax, race to the bottom, yadda yadda. So it’s not like we’d be cheapin’ out. What would it take, Fritz? Here’s the scary part: The homeowners paying the highest NOMINAL property taxes will never see any significant property tax reductions. Why? Because first on the property tax reduction list, if we EVER get there, will be the… Read more »

1 year ago

“A tax increase isn’t the solution to high taxes.”

OMG, you should put that on a billboard!

In the know about the dough
1 year ago

Those firms that appeal property taxes on behalf of their larger commercial and industrial clients have to be absolutely thrilled about the new reset that the reassessments, under the guise of a “fair tax”, will produce for their lucrative appeals practice. Plus, with the new valuation metrics now being “fair”, the Cook County multiplier should arguably be reduced by the IL Board of Review. I’ll take the long play on this and posit that over the coming three to four years the residential property owner will bear an even larger share of property taxes.