For further comments by Cook County Treasurer Pappas on the spike in delinquent property tax bills, see our update linked here.

By: Mark Glennon*

Today I spoke with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas for further comment on the county’s 42 percent spike in delinquent property tax payments and the causes thereof, which she earlier said were “beyond human imagination.” More than 57,000 Cook County property owners face a May 8 deadline for sale of their taxes because they haven’t yet paid – a jump of 17,000 over this time last year.

She let it rip:

“I gotta get outta here” is the most common thing she said she hears in her office from desperate taxpayers. “We hear it constantly in Polish, Spanish, English, Chinese, Korean, you name it. On a scale from one to 10 this is a 20. People are fuming!”

Her employees in the Treasurer’s office have become like psychological counselors, she said, bombarded by endless numbers of depressed or enraged homeowners unable to pay their property tax bills. “They come into our office with their electric bills, parking bills, food bills and all the rest, and show us how much they make. They can’t pay. They just can’t pay.”

I asked if prior years were as bad as this year’s 42 percent year-over-year jump in delinquent bills. It was “not this big” before, she said.

I asked why – what’s causing the jump in delinquent payments?

“There’s no money! People have no money. Government has no money,” she said. It’s like a rubber band that’s been pulled too tight, she said, “and that rubber band is snapping…. This is not a Democratic or Republican thing, Trump or Sanders or anything like that…. In everyday life people are being squeezed.”

She asked me to emphasize that her office maintains a $130 million fund that’s available to homeowners entitled to refunds. Those refunds may be due in cases where exemptions weren’t properly taken in earlier years or where pro rations on buyer/seller closing statements were in error. Details are on the Treasurer’s site.

While it’s unusual to hear a politician with Pappas’ candor, none of this should come as a surprise. Wirepoints and some others have been warning for years about the death spiral of suicidal property tax rates in many Illinois communities. The disaster was earliest and most acute in Chicago’s south suburbs, and now it’s common. Hundreds of thousands of families first lost most of their life savings in the form of their home equity. Now they face loss of the homes themselves.

It’s hardly limited to Cook County. We hear the tragic stories routinely – from many other Illinois counties. Sometimes they’re written in notes attached to tiny contributions. Sometimes we hear them on voicemails left for us. The saddest are from senior citizens, often on fixed incomes, who can no longer afford their property tax bills.

We’ve said it from the start and we say it again: Our model of government is broken. Illinois simply isn’t generating the jobs, growth and revenue needed to meet the promises it has made. Drastic reforms are essential.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

Read more about the property tax insanity in Illinois:

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David F
2 months ago

— AND —
Chicago wants to run it’s own power company and kick ComEd out?
What kind of stupid is that?
I have no love or hate for ComEd but just what does Chicago run efficiently?
Yet another Union pension suck for Chicago?
People won’t be able to able to afford to turn the lights on to see the tax bill…

Poor Taxpayer
2 months ago

Many people from Illinois are embaressed to tell anyone out of state where they live.

Poor Taxpayer
2 months ago

Run for your economic life.
Kiss Illinois good bye.

Old Spartan
2 months ago

And don’t forget that to have a tax sale you have to have a buyer. There will not be buyers for a very large portion of these taxes because the prospect of them being redeemed is minimal. The County better not be counting on a large influx of cash from the sale because the pool of tax buyers is drying up.
The recourse for the tax buyer is to ultimately get the property. And what percentage of the buyers are interested in taking the property with those high taxes and declining market values? Some– but not many.

Gail
2 months ago

I read Cook County is the second county with the highest real estate taxes in the US! I’m still waiting for a refund on my real estate taxes. I straightened this out on December 17th and told I would get a refund in three months! Well, three months is here and I still don’t have a refund! I waited on the phone for 45 minutes before I got to talk to a real person! Very nice man! Would not want that job! I think they need to hire more staff! And those recordings drive me crazy! Please pressl 1 for… Read more »

Gary Craig
2 months ago
Reply to  Gail

I know many people are against guns when I return to Illinois to be around my grandchildren what I had to go through to get my Foid card and my Carry card was just unbelievable and no one to talk to on the telephone no one. An antiquated website over a six month wait and the cost of around $200 just for my already constitutional rights let alone my property taxes in my new house my sewer taxes my water runoff tax my city pension tax And on and on and on

Shirley Miller
2 months ago
Reply to  Gary Craig

How does a FOID card cost $200? It’s $10 for ten years.

NB-Chicago
2 months ago

Not to worry, when you get foreclosed on you can sign up for the cc section 8/public housing voucher lottery (the goodly pols got your back)….. https://chicagodefender.com/the-housing-authority-of-cook-county-is-reopening-the-countys-housing-choice-voucher-list

Mike Williams
2 months ago

Democrats run Illinois. They have for my entire life. It’s already too late for the other party to save it. Why would they even want to? The media would just blame them for the crisis, and also, it’s simply too late to fix things. The damage has been done. The debt is too great. Too many waited too long to wake up. Now the only remaining way out is to get out.

jeff
2 months ago

This is a DEMOCRATIC thing. Period the end. Who’s run the show for the last fifty years?

Freddy
2 months ago

With all the talk about voting for the Progressive tax has anyone heard a solid number on how much property tax’s would be reduced. 1%-5%-25%?? I have not heard any number from JB or Martire. They have numbers like $3.5B in more tax’s would be collected but how much of that would go to property tax relief? Even if all of it went to tax relief it would be very small. The entire public school budgets are over $28B from all sources and if reduced by $3.5B raises and benefits in all the new contracts that are in the pipeline… Read more »

Rick
2 months ago

Big corporations in Illinois need to stand up for the abuse their employees in Illinois have to endure. The talent pool will thin out on them. McDonald’s, Boeing, Navistar, caterpillar, archer Daniels, etc. at some point need to make a point that they are not going to be left holding the bag and start real relocation plans.

Bob dorsey
2 months ago

Please use spell check before posting stories. It’s Cook County, not Cook Country.

jeff
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob dorsey

you forgot the r in Cook, Crook.

Shawn Bosak
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob dorsey

No it’s crook county that’s why l moved out of illinois in 2005

David F
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob dorsey

Actually it’s cRook county

Denny Alfaro
2 months ago

Your proterty tax it’s unsustainable, something it’s got to be done, it makes no sense that we pay almost a $1000 per month and our next door Indiana for a much better property might pay 1000 per year.

NB-Chicago
2 months ago

Once again, while jbs prop tax relief commitee is doa, zero coverage in press of the commonsense 23 prop tax relief bills republicans like Mazzochi & Ugaste have proposed that are sentenced to death in dem controlled “rules committee”. Where’s durkin & brady–nowhere to be heard from, to bizzy shining shoes for the man..
http://www.altondailynews.com/mobile/news/details.cfm?clientid=17&id=299902#.XmgNDOpOk0M

Nita
2 months ago

Leta first fet rid of the state boss, Madigan.
Then elect someone that doesnt tell falshooda just to.get elected. Elect someone that cares about the people so we can really be.helped.
We need a Good Person , Honest Person to.lead us.
Know anybody lije that?

Dr X
2 months ago

Mark I see ur always downing the retired workers for their what u would over generous retirement but why never once a mention of the outrageous salaries of current employers not to mention the generous health care benefits the cities employment salaries are posted online if one looks the redundant jobs of commissioners acting deputies is unbelievable all paid well above 100k that’s just a start office workers making upwards of 60 to 70k to answer phone shuffle around endless paperwork but retires are breaking the budget your focus seem a little bit narrow

2 months ago

Pensions are killing everything. You are paying 100,000 dollars a year for each one. You cant keep that up.

EX-IL Resident
2 months ago
Reply to  John J

John – You can bet they will keep it going until the market finally says no . No chance they voluntarily change pensions…..it will never happen . The Unions own IL and the corrupt Politicians …..all of the them. This sham Progressive Tax scheme vote is a option to keep it going. It gives the reptiles flexibility to raise taxes at will where only 50% will get soaked. They know the property taxes are close to breaking point… so the “progressive” tax gives them another lever to raise more funds for the pensions….this will keep going for years longer. They… Read more »

Tom Paine's Ghost
2 months ago
Reply to  EX-IL Resident

You are spot-on regarding the Un-“Fair Tax” income tax hike. IL politicians have realized that they have milked property taxes for all they can and now want to generate another form of income in order to keep their scam running for a few more years. Most of the very wealthy will leave Illinois – as has happened in NY, CT and NJ when they jacked up income taxes.- but the middle class and small business owners are stuck. If the income tax hike happens all they can hope for is a credit default from CT RI or any notable size… Read more »

EX-IL Resident
2 months ago

More good Points Tom- We have lots of families from your mentioned states all moving here to CO along with families from IL . All those states are losing high earners no doubt about it The other point with the scam Progressive Tax is there is absolutely zero accountability for the Politicians to answer to the full electorate . They can just pit the top half vs the low half and take their chances they get re-elected all the while blaming orange man for everything . Gutless plan that will work in a state like IL where government is the… Read more »

Josie Harris
2 months ago

I guess its time to steal again. How many of those notices got mailed out or returned then disposed of by the clerk.

Danni Smith
2 months ago

I wonder how many of those 57,000 voted for a dem or didn’t vote, or are anti-trump? Those voters are likely more as the 57,000 reflects homes and not the occupants. For them, you made your bed. POTUS lowered your income tax and Illinois raised YOUR REAL ESTATE TAX, YOUR STATE INCOME TAX, YOUR GAS TAX YOUR TOOTHPASTE AND SHAMPOO TAX, YOUR DRY-CLEANING TAX, YOUR FOOD TAX, YOUR LIQUOR TAX, YOUR TRANSFER TAX, YOUR LICENSE PLATE TAX, AND MANY MORE. I CANNOT LIST THEM ALL. How grrr that pompouspappas says ‘it’s not a Trump thing or a sanders thing.” It’s… Read more »

Matthew Petrousek
2 months ago

Chicago has been run by a Democratic Mayor since 1933 it is 100% A Democratic problem

2 months ago

Damn right it’s a Democrat problem.

David F
2 months ago

AND just why in the … are people downvoting anything pointing out the BLUE problem?
Something smells fishy here.

Chris
2 months ago

This is 100000% a Democrat “thing”.
They ran us into the ground just like they do every State they control.

Hank Scorpio
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Mark, yep. Too many folk around here see things in black and white, and assume that a GOP majority would reign in pensions with a constitutional amendment and save the day. This is based on a false assumption that they have the balls in the first place.

Also, public-employee culture in Illinois is different from other states. If major clawbacks were to happen, expect a physical and violent riot from these people; let alone a mass strike.

debtsor
2 months ago
Reply to  Hank Scorpio

“This is based on a false assumption that they have the balls in the first place. ”

As opposed to the alternative, to keep voting Democrat?

“If major clawbacks were to happen, expect a physical and violent riot from these people; let alone a mass strike.:”

CPS and a few other unions lead by progressives would strike. Most others would probably just shrug and let it play out in the courts.

Hank Scorpio
2 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

As opposed to giving the middle finger to BOTH PARTIES and thinking for yourself! The same type of person who thinks in black-and-white is also dyed in the red or blue and have a mentality of “if your’e not with us your’e against us”.

Pathetic tribal bullshit. NO difference between the idiot Never-Trumpers on the left and the “God-Damn-Progressive-Liberals” on the right. Only difference between Fox News and CNN is which team they shill for in exchange for advertising dollars.

2 months ago
Reply to  Chris

THE STUPID AND I MEAN STUPID KEEP VOTING FOR THESE CLOWNS SO WHAT DO THE REST OF US DO THAT VOTE FOR A NORMAL PERSON THAT WANTS TO FIX THE PROBLEM AND QUIT STEALING FROM THE PEOPLE???

Hank Scorpio
2 months ago
Reply to  PAM CARON

You can’t fix stupid. Your only option is to vote with your feet or ride it out. It’s that simple. Shit or get off the pot.

Bebe
2 months ago

Democrats killed this state and fools still vote them in.

Freddy
2 months ago
Reply to  Bebe

Agreed but nearly impossible to vote them out. Most if not all the people voting for them are on the receiving end like state employees-pensioners and their families or anyone getting a check or service from the state. With many running unopposed/political boundaries drawn to make any opposition improbable/sham candidates/gerrymandering/etc how do you vote them out? The Speaker only needs 60 votes to keep him speaker and he easily gets them or he makes life miserable for those who do not. If we had a Speaker who would present bills from both sides to be voted on and not be… Read more »

Rosie
2 months ago

Sadly this is a “Democratic” thing as the Dems have controlled Chicago and Cook county for decades and raise taxes every chance they get.
Meanwhile, corruption continues to abound and people like Jussie Smollett can buy their way out of 16 felony counts.
To be fair, Illinois is also going down the toilet because of the Combine – Dems and Republicans both looking to get rich off the taxpayer backs.
Mike Madigan, Ed Burke, etc etc
No shame
And apparently no end to their greed

Katie
2 months ago
Reply to  Rosie

I whole heartily agree with you. They wanna say it’s not a democrat or Republican thing but who runs Cook County? Not saying there aren’t any bad Republicans. Plus people just revote Democrata and complain later about taxes. The county claims they have no money. Well when they live above their means of course they won’t have money. I am a stay at home mom by Glenview. I have always lived within my means. Plus, how many exempt themselves from their tax bill?

Dawn Noldan
2 months ago

Taxes are crazy in Chicago, period. City services included in my water bill of $55/bimonthly in 2016 are now $155 because of $10/unit/month garbage collection fee. Cable taxes & fees double my monthly subscription rate. Double! Paying taxes for sports channels I don’t watch or subscribe to! Who’s getting this money? Property taxes are killing me, forcing early withdrawal of my retirement savings for which I pay a penalty, higher income taxes to pay the property taxes. Anything wrong with that? Seriously? I’m a native Chicagoan and I don’t want to leave but I just may have no choice.

C Fisher
2 months ago
Reply to  Dawn Noldan

$10 a month per unit to collect trash is a bargain. Think about the cost to maintain all the systems, equipment and infrastructure.
Not saying property taxes are “fair”, but people need to think about what you are and are not getting for what you pay. Better than having piles of garbage on the street

Indy
2 months ago
Reply to  Dawn Noldan

The choice is simple.
Leave Chicago and Illinois
Or have your life ruined.

Shed
2 months ago

If you think cook country property taxes are look at McHenry county Democrats look at taxes as free money

David F
2 months ago
Reply to  Shed

All 5 NE counties are bad, certainly crook isn’t the worst and Chicago’s gentrification pushing the poor out to the burbs isn’t helping the crime either.

ALocalGov Treasurer
2 months ago

1. Property taxes here are closer to 2% of a property’s value. 2. Government services – whether hauling the garbage or delivering the water, operating schools, or providing police, firemen, and teacher pensions – cost what they cost and taxes, whether property, income, sales or other is how we pay. To owe less, collectively we must demand less. Yes waste and fraud should be dealt with, but that’s nibbling around the edges of the bigger cookie … As residents we’ve demanded more than we’re willing to pay for. Wherever you move you’ll hit the same reality. You may temporarily hide… Read more »

John B Mazur
2 months ago

And yet things are better in Florida, Arizona, and Texas.

Poor Taxpayer
2 months ago
Reply to  John B Mazur

Much, much, better in Florida.
Lots of the HUGE pension money is down here.
The stupid people who stay in Illinois are paying for it.
Thanks Suckers.

Tom Paine's Ghost
2 months ago

Taxpayers haven’t demanded more than they could afford. Instead public sector unions like AFSCME, CTU, IFT and SEIU have failed to provide services in a cost-efficient manner, have wildly jacked-up the costs of government services and have criminally co-conspired with politicians to steal from the taxpayers.

These criminals do not deserve any more of the taxpayers money. Period.

Platinum Goose
2 months ago

“Taxpayers haven’t demanded more than they could afford” – actually they have. They want public schools employing union teachers instead of issuing vouchers. They want streets and sanitation workers instead of a private waste disposal. They want municipal employees repairing the roads instead of outside contractors. This is what they want because they have been brainwashed by the union controlled democratic party. ALocalGov Treasurer actually does his constituents a disservice by giving them what they want instead of what is fiscally responsible. Every politician out there knows there’s more efficient ways to provide government services but they want them votes.

Willowglen
2 months ago

This spiel ignores the reality that Illinois Governments are paying huge sums for worker pension obligations and health care benefits for work long ago performed. Take a look at Peoria – with over 100 percent (including a recent special levy) of property taxes going to pensions. Yes, people have to take less, and the people in question are the pension class.

2 months ago
Reply to  Willowglen

just one of the union trolls. Pay no attention

2 months ago

Bullshit! There are plenty of places that pay for everything ( and in some cases more) that we pay for, and they’re not taxing their citizens into poverty. It’s the policies of the ruling party thats been in power for decades.

Tom Paine's Ghost
2 months ago

Eliminate public sector unions and you have cut the root of the problem.

Wisconsin did this and is now prospering.

The Truth Hurts
2 months ago

ALocalGov is dead right about point number 2. It doesn’t matter if the average home price is 500k or 50k in a given neighborhood. The cost of teachers, firefighters, police, other services are about the same. Unfortunately people don’t want to hear the truth so they dismiss it. People that own homes in less than desirable areas have seen their home values decline and then expect their property taxes to go down. It doesn’t work like that. Look at Harvey or East St. Louis. The demographics in those areas indicate likely support for JB and other democratic candidates. Taxpayers have… Read more »

DC
2 months ago

Which is why towns in IL must be consolidated. IL has the most units of local gov in the country.

There’s no need for all these tiny little towns and then each one has its own fire/police/paramedic/ school district etc

It’s absurd

nixit
2 months ago

There is some validity to this argument. Harvey SD 152 gets less than 10% of school funding from local sources. Maybe their HS is 50% locally funded. That extra state funding from EBF is mostly for new services ON TOP OF existing services, so no tax relief there. Even if you get the state and fed to pay their entire education funding (which would never happen), they still have to pay libraries, police, fire, municipal services, etc.

Jesse Lopez
2 months ago

That’s why most of my family sold their homes and moved out of Cook County. Pretty soon the only people left there will be the extremely poor that can’t leave and the retired pensioners looking for there ridiculous payouts and cost of living. Good luck suckers!

Tom Paine's Ghost
2 months ago

“This is not a Democratic or Republican thing,” No, the suffering of taxpayers knows no party or race or gender but it is a Democrat caused thing. Caused by 75 years of Democrat politicians bribery from public sector unions in exchange for unsustainable wages, ghost payrolling, no-show-jobs, gold plated pensions and Cadillac health care costs all foisted upon the taxpayers. For decades the corrupt public sector unions and politicians have been able to return to the well for more money but, now, finally that well is running dry. These sounds are the taxpayers screaming and simply abandoning their properties and… Read more »

My Goodness
2 months ago

Coronavirus is not a pre-existing condition.

Indy
2 months ago

This is exactly why NOW is the time to pack the U-Haul and leave Illinois.
Think things are getting bad now? Just wait. If we go into recession with the Coronovirus the “beyond human imagination” suffering going on now is going to look like childs play.
We welcome you to Indiana with open arms, fiscally responsible government that works for the people and most important a 1% CAP on property taxes enshrined in the state constitution.

Kim
2 months ago

I own a property which worth about $250,000.00. My property tax for the property is $200,000.00 a year. That doesn’t make sense.

Jake
2 months ago

Wait until the Covid-19 effect hits. It will be like 1931 all over again.

Bob Out of Here
2 months ago

Nothing an income tax increase won’t take care of, according to JB.

2 months ago

Yep.
I wonder how much more blood that fat, lying bastard thinks is left in the turnip.

James
2 months ago

We are moving to Texas this year

Lenward Freeman
2 months ago
Reply to  James

It’s just as bad in Texas we need a property tax sales tax so each person pays not just homeowner

DantheMan
2 months ago

I grew up with the belief that real estate is one of the best investments a person could make, but is this true? First, let’s consider the nation as a whole. When all is said and done, historically, it appears that home values generally appreciate close to the rate of inflation. In my mind, that makes owning a home a solid investment. Yes, you still have to pay taxes of around 1% (give or take) in many states, and also maintenance, but that’s far less than paying rent. Now let’s consider the wisdom of owning a home in Illinois. Recent… Read more »

Indy
2 months ago
Reply to  DantheMan

It is true in good states like Indiana.
Its not true in bad states like Illinois, New Jersey, New York etc.

Bob
2 months ago

Maria Pappas is a shining star in a cesspool of brain dead politicians. The smell of Illinois’ decay is all around us

2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

I’m glad you pointed that out. I get so angry about this tax situation that I overlook her honesty, and sincerity. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s out of a job soon though, as I suspect that her bosses don’t see honesty as a virtue.

Db
2 months ago

Yes hello! Seniors aren’t the only ones on fixed incomes. The disabled home owners are drowning. I specifically asked for help from the governor and the Palos Heights Mayor, Plows, and called the Reps that are holding house bill HB3401 hostage in a sub committee, collecting dust! If you think 57k homeowners is a lot, wait till that number triples if property taxes are not drastically dropped now!
You would think Cook county would care about the disabled homeowners but clearly they do not care!
Reform is needed now!