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Taxes paid by the bigs

Thursday, Nov 29, 2007

* I’m not quite sure what to make of the list published in today’s Sun-Times. These are the current annual property tax bills of some Chicago heavy hitters….

Cook County Assessor James Houlihan (Lake View) $23,226.63

Mayor Daley (South Loop) $13,056.65

City Council Finance Chairman Edward M. Burke (Archer Heights) $8,631.55

Gov. Blagojevich (Ravenswood) $7,996.85

Cook County Board Finance Chairman John Daley (Bridgeport) $5,242.51

Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (West Lawn) $3,565.19

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger (Avalon Park) $1,296.02

Illinois Senate President Emil Jones (Roseland) $872.75


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ghost - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 9:47 am:

    They need to pay more property taxes in the N!!! What is up with jones, whats his house valued at, 25k???

    I pay more then Cook County Board Finance
    Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (West Lawn) $3,565.19
    Cook County Board President Todd Stroger (Avalon Park) $1,296.02
    Illinois Senate President Emil Jones (Roseland) $872.75

    In springfield IL on a house valued at only 180k! We need property tax reform for the entire state now.

  2. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 9:59 am:

    What do it all mean?

    For starters, some pols choose to live in nice digs in high value neighborhoods. Others are satisfied with living in modest accomodations.

    This info alone does not address whether the properties are assessed consistently with their neighbors’, or the larger issue of property tax fairness within IL, or compared to other states. Even in the area where I live, there is wide disparity between tax rates in incorporated and unincorporated areas, towns with a large industrial tax base and towns with mostly residential tax base, etc.

    As they say, if you don’t like it, you can always vote with your feet.

  3. - bored now - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:00 am:

    i wouldn’t know what to make of this, either, without knowing what each of their neighbors pay as well…

  4. - B-no name nickname needed - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:02 am:

    i agree with Six Degrees. it’s definately to say Jones and Stroger are getting over on their taxes, even though they live in the hood. it also trys to point that Houlihan is loaded. you can’t blame a guy for once having a good job.

  5. - SpfldPolitico - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:12 am:

    Wow, i pay more in taxes than the Speaker of the House and as much as John Daley. I am in Springfield. That shows that the assessors office has always been a sweet gig with sweet favors.! Looks like i need to go talk with my assessor and see what we can work out! LOL

  6. - Levois - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:14 am:

    Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood isn’t exactly a very high priced piece of real estate. I don’t know what part he lives in but generally Roseland isn’t. In comparison the other pols that live in the city excepting maybe Daley and the governor live in better areas than Jones does.

  7. - South of I-80 - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:17 am:

    Well, P.A. 644 (HB664) provides for a “Property Tax Reform and Relief Task Force. It’s charged with conducting a study of the property tax system in Illinois and investigate methods of reducing our reliance on property taxes and alternative methods of funding local government. Their findings are to be submited to the GA by 01/01/10.

    It’s comprised of 9 members appointed by the “4-tops”. The Pres of the Senate gets to select 3 of the members, one of which will be the Chairman. The remaining 3 each get 2.

    It’s going to be interesting to see if and when the task Force will be selected.

    Oh well, what’s more task force amongest friends?

  8. - DeepFriedOnAStick - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:18 am:

    Does Jones live in a one-room condo?

  9. - Levois - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:22 am:

    I don’t think there are any condos in Roseland though I’m sure somebody’s working on it. Of course that would assume people want to live in Roseland.

  10. - Angry Chicagoan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:34 am:

    a) Chicago property taxes are generally not that high. Among the top ten US cities we’re about ninth.

    b) The Mayor, Assessor and Governor live in bubble housing markets.

    c) Emil Jones evidently has a shotgun house he hasn’t done anything with in 30 years.

  11. - Cal Skinner - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 10:48 am:

    Anyone got the addresses?

    It would be interesting to see what Zillow says they are worth.

  12. - anon again - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:15 am:

    Jones and Stroger must be living in single wides with the wheels still on em

  13. - Zillow - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:15 am:

    I already put Emil Jones info into Zillow for you. Shows the house’s worth $162,518, with a top figure of $199,000. It lloks like it’s the top worth house in the neighborhood, although a house on the same block that’s worth $156K is paying $1108 in taxes and and another on the block that’s worth $141K is paying $1258 in taxes.

    Guess they don’t know anyone on the County Board of Review.

  14. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:18 am:

    Folks, a little perspective, please.

    The assessed value is not in any way indicative of market value. There’s nothing funky going on. Seriously, look at your own tax bill or the assessor’s site for your assessed value. Mine is in front of me, and the assessed value is less than 10 percent of the market value. Don’t know why. Don’t know if this is true outside of Cook County.

  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:19 am:

    JonShibleyFan, that’s why your taxes are lower than Downstaters’.

  16. - Zillow - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    Here’s the info on Todd Stroger’s house:

    Worth $182,873, surprisingly (or not because this is the 8th Ward), there’s a house around the corner that recently sold for $220,000 whose taxes are $619!

    I love the Cook County Board of Review! (BTW: They’re up for re-election in February. Make sure you vote for Berrios et. al).

  17. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:41 am:

    I take it then, that the artificially low assessed value is not true downstate.
    I would also note that my freight is about 10k per a year on a pretty modest house. I have family downstate who about gagged when they heard that.

    Either way - I am nobody nobody sent, and am most certainly NOT getting any special breaks. So my point is that Emil doesn’t appear to be doing anything funky either.

  18. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:44 am:

    …I assume you mean taxes here are lower as a percentage of market value.

  19. - Gene Parmesan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:47 am:

    “The assessed value is not in any way indicative of market value.”–Exactly. The assessed value should be 16% of the fair market value, but Houlihan assesses at less than 10% of market value, compared to the 33% of market value in other counties in Illinois. There’s plenty funky going on in Cook County’s abhorrent property tax system.

    Zorn already did the work on Rod’s house a few years ago. His assessment didn’t increase the way his neighbor’s did.

  20. - Greg - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:47 am:

    Here’s a solution: take the last transaction price, inflate it based on the precise appreciation data that Case/Schiller collects, and multiply it by 1 simple fraction.

    You’ll have a better price estimate than Zillow’s, and obviously Houlihan’s.

  21. - plutocrat03 - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:51 am:

    In our part of the world many residential assessments are equal to and above market value.

    There is a definite coorelation to who you are and your assessment

    Remember also that imperial Chicago assesses residential property around 16-18% rather than the 33% the rest of the state does.

    This is simply a reminder that Chicago (and some parts of Cook) residents pay a smaller property tax than everyone else while poormouthing that they need more money for their schools and transportation systems.

  22. - jeff - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:57 am:

    Mark Brown did a breakdown of Mayor Daley’s tax bill over a week ago. 90% of his $13,000+ goes to a TIF. Just saying.

  23. - Gene Parmesan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:59 am:

    plutocrat03, your figures are wrong. The assessment level by statute is 16%, actual assessment practices put the assessment level for residential property in Cook County at just under 10%.

  24. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:00 pm:

    Gene, you may be right. But to play the devil’s advocate - “market values” have certainly been artificially inflated for a few years.

    Greg, without diving in too deeply, your solution sounds fair enough. Or at least fair enough to look into.

    Zillow is unreliable at best - a fraud at worst. It can often be off by tens of thousands of dollars in either direction.

  25. - Just My Opinion - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:03 pm:

    My assessed value is 1/3 of the fair market value of my home. I pay more taxes than anyone listed in the article on a home in Menard County that is valued at a ltitle over $300K. Plus the Dept. of Rev. slapped an equalizer on Menard County this year, apparently thinking that a 1/3 value wasn’t quite enough. My house is assessed at $103K and my taxes are a few cents away from $8k a year. I’m really sick and tired of hearing about property tax relief for Cook County. It’s time they paid their fair share.

  26. - frustrated GOP - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 12:34 pm:

    I’m paying $7,500 in the burb on a $300,000 house and that’s what they are paying in Cook. Hey, what did the Gov pay for his house? wasn’t about $1 million. No we don’t have a problem here. No wonder why the mayor and jr. Stronger want more money, they themselves have some extra after not paying their fair share.
    Time to change the cook county assessment system.

  27. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 2:53 pm:

    You’re right Rich, race influences everything in Illinois. On this issue, too, not just the Cook County Board.

  28. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 3:15 pm:

    My Cook County home is worth about $500K, but I pay 10 times the taxes of Stroger. So his home is only worth $50K?? Gimme a break. Please. No, really.

  29. - Former CCAO Employee - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:24 pm:

    Just to be clear, there are many factors that effect a tax bill, so that even if you and your neighbor live in identical homes on the same street, your tax bills might be very different. Homeowner’s Exemption, the length of time lived in the home (i.e. 7% cap or whatever you call that nowadays), Senior Exemptions, Condo % ownership, assessment increases, taxing districts, etc. You really have to have an actual tax bill in front of you to determine if you are comparing apples to apples.

    For those outside Cook County, you are assessed at 33% of the fair market value. However, if you live in Cook County, you are assessed at 16% of fair market value. But, Cook County has an equalizer to bring it up to par with the rest of the state- which this year is something like 2.7. So effectively, Cook County’s assessment level is 16% * 2.7= 43.2% rather than 33% like the rest of the state. To give homeowners a break, the assessor under assesses the market value, which is common to across the state. If your home is appraised at $200,000 your assessor’s market value will usually be 60-80% of it’s real worth.

  30. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:30 pm:

    What is all the fuss about? Anyone who has paid any attention at all knows that in general Chicago residential property tax payers pay a lower percent of fair market value in taxes than do most downstaters, both because of the 16/33% differential, and the relatively low property tax rate in the city. We do all need to remember, though, that our $300,000 downstate home would be worth double or triple that in the city, if you could find a 100 foot lot to put it on.

  31. - plutocrat03 - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 4:51 pm:

    So Gene what is your point?

    According to state figure Chicagoans pay approx 1.1% of their property values annually while the rest of the state pays on an average 2 ish with a few communities topping 3%

    I can tell you that I would find it challenging to sell my house for 3 x my assessment. (have to pay my realtor too if I do so). We are in Lake county…….. not downstate at all.

    Our taxes are high because the state does not give our schools as much money per student as the poor Chicago system.

  32. - irishpirate - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 5:52 pm:

    It is relatively simple.

    If you live in an area, suburb or downstate, without a strong commercial tax base you are likely to pay a higher percentage of “real value” in terms of property taxes. Chicago still has a strong commercial tax base. There are poorer Cook County suburbs that are paying around 3% of “real value” because they have little commercial activity.

    Something similar could be said for downstate. So stop your whining and get some skyscrapers.

  33. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 7:07 pm:

    I’d like to know the source of Houlihan’s income … the man’s paying nearly $2k a MONTH in real estate taxes … that’s more than most people’s mortgage. Must be independently wealthy.

  34. - HouliFan - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 7:23 pm:


    Houlihan’s wife is one of the best lawyers in the City of Chicago. And Houlihan made quite a nice living as a lobbyist before taking office.


  35. - FOIFilly - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 8:00 pm:

    No wonder Houli took time from “helping” me to lobby for the 7% solution. When Houli lobbied he got those bozos in SPI to assess private golf courses as open space. Hard working lobbo indeed.

  36. - Hoober - Thursday, Nov 29, 07 @ 11:35 pm:

    I think Joe Berrios is so corrupt at the Board of Review, I bet he actually makes money.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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