Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » This just in… Hynes unveils new tracking website *** Sojourn in crisis mode *** Another candidate in Weller district announces *** Lipper whacked again ***
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This just in… Hynes unveils new tracking website *** Sojourn in crisis mode *** Another candidate in Weller district announces *** Lipper whacked again ***

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 11:40 am - The governor will reiterate his threat to call a mid-December special session during a press conference later today. From a press release…

As property tax bills are put in the mail to Cook County homeowners, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today will call on the Illinois General Assembly to reconvene before the end of the year to provide permanent property tax relief for Cook County homeowners. Earlier this month, lawmakers overrode the Governor’s recommended changes to a property tax relief bill and approved a version that takes relief away next year, and completely phases out relief in three years.

WHO: Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. Mike and Linda Vacala, homeowners, Local elected officials

WHAT: Gov. Blagojevich will call on legislature to provide permanent property tax relief for Cook County homeowners.

WHEN: 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Residence of Mike and Linda Vacala

At least he didn’t call it a “property tax cap” this time. Sheesh.

*** 12:26 pm *** This is an interesting new development. From a press release…

Comptroller Dan Hynes today unveiled a user-friendly website that allows citizens to track political contributions made by companies that have state contracts.

Open Book” is a searchable database of state contracts and campaign contributions that combines information from the Comptroller’s accounting system with official semi-annual campaign disclosure reports filed by political committees with the State Board of Elections (SBE).

“The purpose of Open Book is to make it much easier for the public to ‘follow the money,’” said Hynes. “That should make public officials more accountable to the people they serve. In turn, it is my hope that some measure of the public confidence in state government that has been lost over the years can be restored.”

Go check it out.

* 12:43 pm - I’ve been meaning to drop off a check to Sojourn Shelter from the proceeds from our charity site for a couple of weeks. I’ll get it over there tomorrow. From an urgent e-mail message forwarded to my by Springfield Freecycle…

On Sunday, October 14 Sojourn suffered significant water damage when our sprinkler system was inadvertently activated by one of the residents. The resulting damage has forced us to close half of the client bedrooms, the kitchen, the pantry and the dining room.

We have managed to set up temporary sleeping quarters for all of the residents and are currently working to establish our conference room as a temporary kitchen equipped with refrigerators, toasters and microwave ovens. We need your help as we work to feed our clients throughout the demolition and repair period.

We currently have 4 pressing needs: 1) paper products including plates, cups, bowls and silverware; 2) microwave meals; 3) cold food items such as cereal, granola bars, sandwich makings, etc.; and 4) cleaning items. With 27 clients currently in shelter we are working to provide approximately 425 meals per week. These meals can only be prepared using either a toaster or microwave. It is estimated that the repairs will take between 3 and 5 weeks.

Please contact us at or (or call us at 217-726-5100 ext. 211 or 209) and let us know if your family, business or place of worship is able to help us with any the following meals or needs. Any support you can provide is greatly needed and appreciated. Please pass this e-mail along to anyone who can help!

* 12:54 pm - Lee jumps into the Weller replacement race. From a press release…

Former White House official and community leader Jimmy Lee has
announced his candidacy to succeed retiring Congressman Jerry Weller.

Recently, Lee returned to Illinois, from Washington, DC, where he served as Executive Director of the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Having a vast amount of experience in community development, business, and public policy, Lee felt that his background would be essential in keeping the 11th District in the Republican column.

* 1:02 pm - From Mark Pera’s campaign…

Democratic Congressional candidate Mark Pera on Tuesday called upon Congressman Dan Lipinski to direct his staff to return to donors or contribute to charity the payments they received from a state political campaign fund controlled by Lipinski’s father — former Congressman and federal lobbyist William Lipinski.

According to the Daily Southtown (10/21 & 10/14) and the Chicago Sun-Times (10/07), Congressman Dan Lipinski’s chief of staff and director of communications collected $13,500 in consulting fees from the “All-American Eagles” fund — a state political campaign fund — during 2006 and 2007.

Making matters worse is the fact that William Lipinski misrepresented the fund as one that benefits charitable causes in a solicitation letter that was sent out in August (see attached).

Pera said the newspaper reports raise some troubling questions.

“Why are members of Congressman Dan Lipinski’s staff receiving income from his father — a lobbyist at both the state and federal levels? If Congressman Lipinski wasn’t aware of this relationship, he should have been. If he was, then why didn’t he move to end it?” Pera said.


  1. - Ghost - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 11:51 am:

    As somone who does not live in Cook County I find it anoying that the general assembly is providing them only such releif. treat every property owner in the Sate the same.

  2. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 11:55 am:

    Actually, Ghost, the bill he vetoed (and was subsequently overridden) does provide relief for other areas.

  3. - Joe Schmoe - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:00 pm:

    Must be one of Blago’s neighbors. Definitely wouldn’t set foot in the Capitol or the JRT for a news conference

  4. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:02 pm:

    Yeah Governor - keep threatening. Your inability to build any meaningful teams to address our problems is a great reason you are so popular right now.

    Keep on threatening!

  5. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:06 pm:

    So I guess he’ll be proposing a state income tax increase at this event too, right?

  6. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:07 pm:

    I’m grateful tothe governor for standing up for homeowners. Property traxes are getting out of control and the city is becoming a place where only the wealthy can afford to live. There was a time when the factories in Chicago actually made things. Now they are all gutted and turned into condos. The poor and middle class can no longer afford to live in the city, and most of the jobs have moved to the suburbs.

    This is not a positive development. I appreciate the governor’s willingness to keep property taxes in check so that people aren’t taxed out of the homes where they raised their families.

  7. - plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:12 pm:

    It would seem that property tax reform should be equitable throughout the state.

    As the State statistics show, Cook County residents already pay a smaller percentage of their property values than the rest of the state at around 1.1%. Since some communities are hovering near 3%, they should get the same kind of protection or reform.

  8. - Gene Parmesan - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:13 pm:

    Anon, the legislation you’re so greatful for the governor supporting is shifting the property tax burden to the businesses that still remain in Cook County.

    The Governor isn’t doing anything to change the amount we pay in property taxes, just who pays them. If you want taxes in check, then let the Daley/Stroger/Blago tax triumvirate know it.

  9. - MOON - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:15 pm:

    Once again the Gov. is grandstanding! If he really wants tax relief for the homeowners (voters) then he should tell his co-conspirator and good friend Houlihan to do his job. Just look at Houlihans most recent assessments on commercial and industrial properties. The level of assessment on the land portion for 99% of these properties is the same as the 2004 assessment. That means the “Wizard” (Houlihan) thinks the land value for these properties has not increased over the past 3 years. Had the “Wizard” done his job correctly there would be no need for his “B.S. 7% solution”. Houlihan has failed to do his job and now wants Springfield to bail him out with the voters. Mr. Houlihan do your job and quit the grandstanding with the imposter currently labeled Governor!

  10. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:16 pm:


    All that may be true, but a rising property tax bill generally reflects a faster-rising asset value. It’s like complaining that you pay more income tax when you get a raise. Your statment is all generalization, and, to boot, fails to acknowledge the accompanying wealth benefit for poorer homeowners.

    The question you should be asking is: why, when housing stock has appreciated 50% this decade, can govts not cut the actual tax rates on said asset? That is a spending issue.

  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:16 pm:

    I wish he’d do something about my property taxes, which are much higher than Cook County’s.

  12. - Ghost - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:18 pm:

    The current bill is much more palatable. But that aside, this type of legislation, covering property taxes, should be uniform for all homeowners in the State.

  13. - It's A Big State - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:19 pm:

    Don’t forget the other 101 counties in the state of Illinois. This perfect example of the Blagojevich mentality.

  14. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:20 pm:

    Businesses should pay more of the burden than taxpayers. The last time I checked there were more “businesses” in Cook County than in the rest of the state combined. I guess that they decided to “remain” in Cook County so that they could take advantage of the infrastructure, mass transit, educated workforce, public safety, and cultural amenities that are not available elsewhere. Since they benefit from the above listed and more they should have no problem helping to pay for them. Unless greed becomes a problem for them.

  15. - DC - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:20 pm:

    Plutocrat — what the statistics probably don’t show is that, while the rates may be lower as a percentage in Cook County, the appraisal amount itseslf is ridiculously high. I used to work on regulatory issues for the Property Tax Appeal Board and let me tell you — corporate property tax rates are higher in Cook County purposefully to artificially keep residential (voter) property taxes down. Gene Parmesan’s analysis is spot-on.

    All this goofball Governor is doing is an attempt to defer and deflect reality. If the Governor had any sense at all, he would tackle this issue through rule rather than statute. But then again, it’s “sexier” to hold a news conference at a pawn’s house than it is to testify before JCAR.

  16. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:27 pm:

    The percentage of the tax burden paid for by “business” has been decreasing steadily for the past ten years. If increasing the homeowners exemption does, in fact, shift more of the burden back to business, where it belongs, than it is a good law.

  17. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:27 pm:

    Ah, the “greed” justification. Always effective at neutering any argument against restribution. How dare actors–”people” (a la Blago) or businesses–maximize their utility…

  18. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:30 pm:

    I mean redistribution. And Bill, how can you so reflexively support any law that increases burden on business? It taxes business, therefore “good”? What kind of argument is that?

  19. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:30 pm:

    Maximize utility = take from the working men and women who do the real work that makes profit possible.

  20. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:32 pm:

    From the Chicagoland Chamber…

    ===in 1995 residential and commercial properties in Cook County were nearly even in overall assessed value (46% of the tax base was residential; 52 % was commercial.) By 2004 residential property grew in value to 56% of the assessment base, while commercial property shrunk to 37% of the base. Despite these uneven proportions, in 2004, residential properties (56% of tax base) paid 45% of taxes, and commercial property (37% of base) still paid over 40% of taxes, well more than their fair share.===

  21. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:32 pm:


    Wealth is not zero-sum, or else global gdp would be unch from year 1600 or whenever. You speak in soundbite-like cliches, so I’ll just ignore you.

  22. - Ghost - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:38 pm:

    On a seperate note, the Hynes website is a great idea. Good example of active leadership and using technology to move us toward more open government. Hynes deserves praise for this new tracking system (assuming it is acurate and updated).

  23. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:42 pm:

    Thank you for the actual numbers from the Chamber. They show that homeowners are paying a larger percentage of the property tax burden than they did ten years ago and that they are paying a larger portion of the burden than commercial properties are now. That was exactly my point. Their editorial comment that that is “well more than their fair share” shows that they are not willing to pay for the services that they need to make their businesses successful and want the homeowner to subsidize their business venture.
    I would accuse the Chamber of using a “sound bite cliche” but that would be rude and would not add to the discussion.

  24. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:48 pm:

    Except, Bill, that they are way down in assessment base. Cook taxpayers love to be subsidized by the “other.” The rest of us have little choice in the matter. The whining is a bit too intense for me.

  25. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:57 pm:

    Sorry if that was excessively rude. Re-reading my post, I probably was typing faster than I was thinking…

    I agree the chamber is providing both facts and editorial. What I don’t like, from either side, are arguments like “take from the working men and women” or “fair share.” You’re never going to arrive at any optimal tax by looking at those cliches.

    I think it’s pretty simple: it’s an asset-based tax, you have (usually) an asset whose growth exceeds inflation, you ought to be able to lay down a rate and leave it.

  26. - plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:57 pm:

    To DC

    The appraisal rates are really high in the collar counties as well.

    Furthermore the rest of the state taxes on 1/3 the assessed value while Cook does it at a lower level.

    When you then review what Cook receives back from the state for schools and transportation in comparison to the other counties, you can build a picture that Cook county taxes its residents at a lower rate on the backs of the rest of the state.

    Let’s stop the preferential treatment that Cook receives and have them pay their fair share for the services they receive.

  27. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    Tax “burden” should not be should not be based on total assesment which for residential is artificially high and for commercial is artificially low. It should be based on percentage of total tax revenue. One way to solve the assessment problem would be to assess taxes on the price actually paid for the property. The assessment would not change until the property was sold. The rates and the assesment would be more transparent and more honest and long time homeowners would not be hurt by market fluctuations. As for the whining, I would gladly pay more in taxes of any variety for enhanced services, education, mass transit,public safety, etc. if business would be required to pay their fair share as well.

  28. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:00 pm:

    Thank you, thank you Governor Blagojevich. If you can pull this off, I’m afraid I might actually have to vote for you next time. The burdens of the middle class taxpayer are becoming intolerable, with no truly progressive tax in sight.

    And thanks to Dan Hynes too. This website should be a step forward in developing an educated electorate, should voters choose to use it.

  29. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:03 pm:


    Again, sorry, I’ll try to stick to the economics. I understand your point about sale price-based assesments, but there’s a big market distortion problem there. It might not be something you all care about (for me it’s something I’m trying to constantly identify) but it would affect price/rental ratios, supress transactions, and favor inefficency

  30. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:07 pm:

    How are Cook’s assessments artificially high for residential?

  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:16 pm:

    …Considering that Houlihan underassesses.

  32. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:19 pm:

    A person who bought their home in 1950 for $15,000 is now being assesed for a $500,000 property. This same lower middle class person who struggled for 30 years to pay her monthly mortgage payment now finds that she is being paying more per month for taxes than she was paying for a mortgage. Can she sell her property for $500,000 and reap a windfall? Probably not in this market. Her assesment is artificially high. Can she afford the higher tax payment? No. So what is the true value of her house? Even though she paid for her house in full it really belongs to the taxing bodies, doesn’t it?

  33. - Red Skelton - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:22 pm:

    Just raced to Shecky Hynes webiste and typed in the name of a noted person with multiple contracts.
    Shecky provides zip, sero nada info. The site misses one contract and a whopping $5K in donations.
    So I guess Kent Canary is not out of business yet.
    Whew had me worried for a sec.

  34. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:26 pm:

    Except she’s not being assessed at $500,000. Not even close to that.

  35. - amy - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:32 pm:

    does mark pera still work on the Cook County

  36. - Gene Parmesan - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:33 pm:

    Bill, that whole example makes no sense if you assume that she’s overassessed and can’t realize profits on her asset (home).

    You have touched on a major problem with the property tax, in that individuals who have homes that greatly appreciate over a number of years do get a higher tax bill, which is based on the value of their asset. If they can no longer afford the taxes on the asset they can sell it. Sucks for an older couple who has to sell their home, but said home is also worth a heck of a lot more than they paid for it.

    And Rich is 100% correct, residential properties are assessed at only 9-10% of their fair market value in Cook. I don’t see how you could make an argument they are artificially high given that.

  37. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:40 pm:

    I think Bill would argue that either way, she couldn’t afford it. But that exactly illustrates the problem with an asset-based tax. You basically have 2 options: sell or get a reverse mortgage. You’re still much wealthier because of the appreciation, but the forced change doesn’t look pretty.

    Nevertheless, this kind of tax demands that property is valued accurately and is applied evenly. Otherwise, you get the classic rent-control problem.

  38. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:41 pm:

    Gene, I promise I didn’t read yours first…

  39. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:52 pm:

    Let’s try a real-life hypothetical:

    This house:

    Bought in 1978 for around $50,000. Is just finishing their 30-year mortgage.

    Home is now worth about $370,000.

    Paying Now in property taxes:
    $5,544 per year

    Paying then:
    $403 per year

    The assessment data is right there on their Web site.

    I am not making any argument either way here. Just trying to put this hypothetical out there.

  40. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 1:57 pm:

    Thank you, Bearsss.

  41. - Greg - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:02 pm:

    That’s an interesting stat. FYI, it reflects a 9.5% average annual tax increase, and a 7.25% annual appreciation increase (assuming assesment is correct, which is of course a bad assumption.) What a crazy coefficient for tax growth.

  42. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:07 pm:

    GoBearsss, my Springfield house isn’t worth much more than that, yet my latest property tax bill was over $12,000. So, please, spare me the sob story.

  43. - DC - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:15 pm:

    For the sake of argument, let’s agree that the evil corporations that hire people and make profit in a capitalistic economy (gasp) are paying less in taxes as a percentage. The logical remedy for democrats is “tax them more”. Sounds like a good populist thing to do. So let’s tax them higher, reduce operating capital, reduce headcount, lay people off, increasing chances for a default on their mortgage payments, and transition them from being a homeowner to being a renter. I would argue that chain of events would be taking from the hard working men and women more than a few hundred more dollars a year in property taxes.

    The secondary effect of the Governor’s plan would also result in two things:more property tax litigation and school districts will be adversely affected (see what happened to Braidwood High School when ComEd decided to appeal their property taxes in Will County).

    There’s no perfect system and I don’t pretend to be an expert or an economist, just a realist. Businesses need to pay taxes but there needs to be a balance between promoting business growth and scoring cheap political points on the backs of those who employ the bulk of the county’s workforce.

  44. - Birds of a Feather - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:17 pm:

    Another Coalition for Better Government guy being used as a prop.

  45. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:28 pm:


    That’s because your city and county governments must be corrupt, wasteful spenders.


  46. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:34 pm:

    This keeps getting framed in terms of businesses versus residential, but it’s not that simple. The winners are homeowners who live in quickly appreciating areas; the losers are businesses AND homeowners in slower appreciating areas. This is reverse Robin Hood - if your home isn’t appreciating as fast, your taxes would have gone DOWN without Houlihan’s bill. With his bill, your taxes will be higher than they would have been. He’s screwing the less wealthy for the benefit of the wealthy!

  47. - plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:36 pm:

    I’m stewing about this residential/commercial property assessment.

    If you take two properties, one residential, one commercial which can be purchased/sold for 500K, why should the tax burden be different for the two different uses.?

    If anything, the residential property will be consuming more services, schools,, library etc than the commercial one.

    It this just a Robin Hood thing, rob the rich to help the poor? How does it make sense for a small business owner to subsidize the residents of the Bloomingdale’s building?

    Lots of unfairness to be seen here.

  48. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:49 pm:

    “A person who bought their home in 1950 for $15,000 is now…”
    …an 85 year old widow in one hellava rut.

  49. - GoBearsss - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:53 pm:

    Rich - I just figured out a big difference in the calculation.

    You forget about the equalization factor.

    In Chicago, you have to multiply your assessed value by 2.7.

    So, if your market value is 200k:

    Assessor’s Fair Market Value: $200,000
    Assessment Percentage: x 0.16
    Assessed Valuation: $32,000
    Equalization Factor: x 2.7076
    Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV): 86,643
    General City Tax Rate: x 5.302 %
    Amount of Tax Bill $4,593.81

    The new Homeowner Exemption takes $33,000 off the EAV. With the exemption, the tax bill is $2,844.15.

  50. - FOI Filly - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 2:53 pm:

    In Cook County, Houli gives the commercial land a higher assessment — I think 40% versus residentia1 16%(actually 10 or 11) — so they pay more.
    Some commercial properties can make a case for lower assessment due to vacancies etc.; but there are breaks Houli gives the homeowners too.
    Meanwhile, I think it is safe to say to use all of new exemption cap a home’s value would need to grow by over $200K since the last reassessment. I assume that is not the 50K bungalow someone refered to earlier.

  51. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 3:03 pm:

    And yours aren’t, Bearsss? :)

  52. - OneManBlog - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 3:07 pm:

    About 1K less than I pay on a house worth over 120K less.

  53. - Ghost - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 3:23 pm:

    interesting news flash at sj-r “Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he and three of the four top legislative leaders are talking about a long-term funding plan to bail out Chicago-area mass transit agencies.” Gov is trying to render Madigan obsolete after what Madigan did to him. Should be interesting to watch.

  54. - Just My Opinion - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 3:36 pm:

    Why don’t you all move out to Menard County where 10K people get to pay all of the taxes. My house is over-assessed and the county office wouldn’t begin to listen to why. They are assuming a lot of things in my house that aren’t there and never will be - like a finished basement that I don’t have nor will ever have. My tax bill is $8K/yr. and is way higher than I way paying in Sangamon Co. for the same value of property. So while Hairdo wants tax relief for Cook Co, hey Guvna, how about considering the rest of us as well.

  55. - We Will Never Know! - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 3:45 pm:

    “Open Book” is real nice. Only the horse has left the barn (about 5 years ago) already.
    There is so much money unaccounted for, regarding Governor Blagojevich it’s staggering.

  56. - FGS - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 3:46 pm:

    Bearsss, you need to remember though, a house with an Assessor’s Fair Market Value of $200,000 in cook county, actually has a “Fair Market Value” over $300,000, probably $310,000. Houlihan sets the Fair Market Value between 60-70% of what the property is worth on the open market. And this adjustment for the most part is only applied to residential. The rest of this state does not make this adjustment.

    FOI, Residential property is 16%, Rentals 20%, Commercial Retail/Office 38%, Industrial 36%.

    The Civic Federation publishes a report periodically of the effective tax for different municipalities. Effective Tax is a way of comparing tax burdens between municipalities. It is calculated by dividing tax by the fair market value of a property. In 2004 the effective tax for residential property in Chicago was 1.29% compared to 2.25% for commercial property and 1.90% industrial. In Naperville, the effective tax was 1.81% for all property classes, while Aurora was 2.01%, Schaumburg (who doesn’t levy a municipal tax) was 1.69%, Waukegan 2.17%, Joliet 2.20%.

  57. - one of the 35 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 3:52 pm:

    Kudos to Comptroller Hynes for providing this pay to play information in an easily accessible form.

    Rich: If you are unhappy with your property tax bill, have your local community approve a referendum for Home Rule status. Then elect sensible local officials who can swap a reduction in property tax for an increase in sales tax.

  58. - MOON - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:08 pm:


    The day Madigan becomes “obsolete” is the day Illinois is in a world of hurt !

  59. - Captain America - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:13 pm:

    Another public relations coup for Dan Hynes - an initiative with potential for shedding real light into the nooks and crannies of government that the politcal players don’t want us to see. Tranparency in contract decisions is a critical element in changing the way government/politcal business is done in Illinois.

  60. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:15 pm:

    By the way, the “classification” system in Cook, where residential is treated differently than others, is not just on Houlihan’s say so. It’s authorized by the statute and constitution and determined by the Cook County Board.

    Also, remember that Houlihan refused to send out the fall tax bills until the issue was dealt with by the legislature. He was afraid that taxpayers would see the bill without his legislation and then later get a “corrected” version and everyone would know exactly who was a winner and who was a loser and by how much. Then people would see what a fraud his legislation was - many less affluent homeowners would be much better off without his legislation. Houlihan couldn’t let that be known, so he stonewalled, claiming “confusion” would ensue.

  61. Pingback Musing Minds » Blog Archive » Open Book - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:21 pm:

    […] Via CapitolFaxBlog: Comptroller Dan Hynes today unveiled a user-friendly website that allows citizens to track political contributions made by companies that have state contracts. […]

  62. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:36 pm:

    It is high time to eliminate the differing assessments for residential and commercial properties in Cook County. It is time for Cook County to step in line with the rest of the state. I am not holding my breath, because all of the state constitutional officers reside in Cook County and currently enjoy the preferential property tax treatment.

  63. - EL SALSA - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:39 pm:

    As someone who typicalls views Hynes as boring and irrelevent, I thought his website was a cool idea. However, it looks like it was put together by a 4th grader. Terrible fonts, layout, and search engine - Not to mention a TERRIBLE picture of Hynes. It was about as exciting as he is.

  64. - Captain America - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:41 pm:

    Looks like the Governor is trying to capitalize on the tax revolt/backlash related to the fiscal profligacies of the Daley-Stroger administrations. He’s even succeeded in politically “seducing” Cassandra.

    Who in their right mind would call a special session in mid-December absent a compelling political crisis? Might be good political PR for the Governor, but if he actually calls a special session on this issue in December, it’s certainly bad legislative relations. It bodes ill for the next legislative term and for the rest of Blago’s tenure.

    Rather than “burying the hatchet,” Blago appears dedicated to “throwing down the gauntlet” and “tilting at windmills” again next year. His whole second term may become a war of attrition - definitely not a successful governing strategy.

  65. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:44 pm:

    I agree with El Salsa. It needs a makeover. But, it’s a start.

  66. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:47 pm:

    They probably had no design budget for that site. Form ought to follow function. As long as it works, I’m fine with it.

  67. - 2for2 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 4:59 pm:

    So El Salsa needs to be excited by a website that is trying to bring some light to state contracts? Man, some people can never be satisifed. Maybe he should have hired Annie Lebovitz for the picture. Would that be exciting?

  68. - GettingJonesed - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 5:18 pm:

    Super secret plan to solve the RTA — where has he been snoozin? By December the court will pack up Little Rod’s special session scareometer and send him home for a spanking.

    Let’s face it. The guy who once could wiggle his ears and get thousands for a funder can’t even get the count up to 500 for a closed event.

    One of the final few faithful is off to pension plumping heaven.

    How do say the party’s over

  69. - Hynes is Da Man - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 5:49 pm:

    Everyone else talks and he just keeps plugging away. El salsa should ask the Gov. and Mr Jones if they are excited about HB1 or any other legislation on banning play to play… or does she find that boring as well?

  70. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 6:43 pm:

    They have houses worth more than $370k in Springfield? I must not drive through the right parts of town.

  71. - Sam L. - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 7:10 pm:

    Good to see the GOP has a conservative running in Weller’s district who is credible and can raise money. The district needs some new GOP life with enthusiasm. Too many fake GOPers in the mix (specifically Balderman).

  72. - Herself - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 7:14 pm:

    Kudos to Dan Hynes. This is a start. Now he should create a system to view No Bid Contracts. These contracts, mostly Professional and Artistic, are not on the Procurement Bulletin and are under the $20,000 amount. There are many of these dirty contracts.

  73. - Frat Boy - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 7:23 pm:

    Yes goodwork Dan. You are are our hero! Now back to reality. Dan will never be elected gov even with his early campaign efforts. Good try but when Rich puts you to shame on your history of Illinois, you know Blago’s operation is just chomping at the bit to get to you.

  74. - EL SALSA - Tuesday, Oct 23, 07 @ 7:35 pm:

    If you want to see a great website with easy ways to search state records, go to Jesse Whites website.

    Yes, the site is very drab and looks like it was from 1990…. But the search engine isnt even that user friendly. I did a couple searches on known people and nothing even popped up.

    Good intent. But bad execution.

  75. - Lainer - Wednesday, Oct 24, 07 @ 6:12 am:

    Anon 6:43: Yes, many of them are along the lake.

    Which reminds me of something that perhaps is being overlooked in the Cook vs. downstate property tax debate: don’t you get a lot more house for your money downstate? A $500k house in Cook County will not be nearly as big nor have as many amenities or as much property as a $500k house in Menard or Sangamon counties. Could this perhaps explain at least part of the tax difference?

  76. - Hmmmm? - Wednesday, Oct 24, 07 @ 8:09 am:

    Maybe I missed it, but if taxes go up on businesses, their prices go up. Not deductable to me. If my taxes go up, at least I get the write-off.

  77. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Oct 24, 07 @ 8:39 am:


    I appreciate your coming around to my point of view of not increasing AV until a property is sold or improved. That solves much of the problem.

    State law gives Cook and only Cook to Assess property by classification — provided that the assessment ratios on the highest classification rate are no more than 250% of that on the lowest. Cook set the classification ratios. Thus, 38% of estimated market value for commercial and 16% for Residential. That fit within the law.

    But Houli and his predecessors permitted the Residential ratio to fall to 10% (roughly) while maintaining the commercial at 38%. That is well outside the 250% differential. As long as Cook had a closed loop for appeals (ending in the Board of Review) it could maintain the fiction of fair and legal assessment.

    The State Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) was set up to get things back into line. The Machine did its best to gut it (remove funding, etc.) but it did not work. In short, PTAB heard appeals and reduced assessments on most of the commercial properties. It even ordered refunds for back years.

    This caused consternation in Cook, because the only place from which the refunds could come was out of the hide of current collections which were supposed to go to the taxing bodies, or from escrows into which the taxing bodies were supposed to have put disputed taxes until the Appeal was settled. The temptation was too great for many units of government. They spent the money. The Assessor was sued but was able to weasel out of any responsibility for his malfeasance.

    Houlihan had a mess on his hands. His first tactic was to return the assessments on residential property to a legal ratio (within 250%).

    The Wailing Wall at Jerusalem was small potatoes compared to the cries of the residental taxpayers who saw their Reassessments jump more than 70%.

    The math would have been simple. To get from 10% to 15% represents an increase of 50% in the valuation. Add in inflation over the triennial and you can tack on another 20%.

    The Assessor did not have
    1) the guts to tell them why;
    2) that the State Equalizer would be effectively lowered and it was the Equalized Assessed Valuation on which tax rates were based;
    3) that a decrease in tax rate would offset to a certain extent the increase in valuation
    4) that taxpayers should look taxing bodies directly in the eye and tell them to control spending, instead of sitting in the comfort of their homes.

    Instead, Houlihan tried two schemes. The first was declared illegal. The second was the 7% solution, which is still in the courts.

    The collar counties, by the way, assess all property in accordance with State law at 33 1/3% and get a State Multiplier at or near 1.0

    What is this Multiplier? The State does sales ratio studies on transferred properites (they get Tax Stamps and closing papers) and look to see the ratios of the County assigned valuation of sold properties to their sale price. A multiplier is then derived to bring the County Assessments in line. That Multiplier is the States Estimate of how far off the Assessments of each county are from the Constitutional ratio of 33 1/3%

    Lake is 1.0. That means the County is spot on. Cook is 2.83. That shws how far off, in gross, the Cook system is.

    Bill, if you believe that Business owners are not paying their fair share of taxes, then the Property Tax is not the place to make it up. It is not correct analysis to take in gross the property tax revenues from all residences and place it against the moneys, from the same source, of businesses as a basis of supposed “fair share.”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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