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Martwick won’t call bill that tweaks Pritzker on property taxes

Thursday, May 18, 2017

* We talked about this yesterday, but here’s a refresher from the Tribune

Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin has joined the GOP’s efforts to keep in the news Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker move to secure property tax breaks for a Gold Coast mansion declared “vacant and uninhabitable.”

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week on the tax relief, and Republicans have focused on the issue for days. Durkin signed to a bill that would allow local taxing bodies to file a complaint if a property owner getting vacancy relief isn’t attempting to sell, lease or alter it. The plan also lays out penalties for those found in violation, including a ban on tax breaks until the property is sold or leased.

Democratic Rep. Robert Martwick filed the measure back in February, but Durkin didn’t add his name as a co-sponsor until Wednesday, after the Pritzker story broke.

* Martwick just issued a statement…

Leader Durkin’s move to sign on as a chief co-sponsor of House Bill 2517 and publicly announce it this week is disappointing, counterproductive and out of character for him.

Vacancy fraud is an important and complex issue, and one that I have been working on for several years to address the growing number of buildings left intentionally vacant in the city of Chicago by their owners for tax benefits. I have made good progress on this issue but decided to continue to work with the various stakeholders in hopes of movement next session. The bill is in the House Rules Committee and I have no intention of calling it for a vote this year.

Leader Durkin’s move smacks of political gamesmanship, and I have to believe it is being driven by the governor’s office in light of recent media reports on the governor’s race. There is no place for such political games on an important issue like this. I urge the governor, Leader Durkin and all of my colleagues in the final two weeks of the session to end the shenanigans and refocus on the critically important task of getting a state budget agreement to move our state out of this crisis.

Except by sending out this release he kept the story alive and kinda bashed Pritzker in the process.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Wylie Coyote - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 2:43 pm:


  2. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 2:46 pm:

    “Leader Durkin’s move to sign on as a chief co-sponsor of House Bill 2517 and publicly announce it this week is disappointing, counterproductive and out of character for him.”

    Forget it Jim. You’ll never be dad’s favorite.

  3. - W Flag - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    What burns me about this Pritzker story is that those property tax assessment reductions are hard to come by. The connected people get special treatment. The little guy not so much.

    I applied for reduced assessments while remodeling two buildings (one had fire damage) and was told to go pound sand. J.B. has friends in high places and he got the reductions.

  4. - so.... - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    ==Vacancy fraud is an important and complex issue, and one that I have been working on for several years to address the growing number of buildings left intentionally vacant in the city of Chicago by their owners for tax benefits.==

    So he disapproves of Pritzker’s scam then?

  5. - Texas Red - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    Bi-partisan efforts to pass legislation is something to be admired, and ensuring that the law applies equally to everyone is also a great principal. Oh yeah, those don’t apply why they could hurt the presumptive Dem candidate for Governor.

  6. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===The little guy not so much.===

    I filled out a form following a meeting at a park district field house. I got a reduction. I’m not connected.

    And just as I don’t feel sorry for Pritzker’s property tax bill, you said you own two properties that you’re rehabbing. I won’t lose sleep over your tax bill either. Sounds like you’re doing fine.

    Hire an attorney next time. I recommend Madigan and Getzendanner, but any firm that regularly practices before the Board of Review will be almost as good.

  7. - Lech W - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 2:59 pm:

    Like a ding on your credit report; this incident will stick to JBP for a good long time. The more the Dem’s try to minimize the impact the more the GOP has to use in the campaign.

  8. - W Flag - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 3:02 pm:

    It doesn’t help one’s confidence knowing that it was once a common practice for the appeal files to be coded (using initials) to indicate if the property owner or his or her lawyers had contributed to the BOR commissioners.

    It is a corrupt system (by design).

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 3:05 pm:

    ===I’m not connected===


  10. - Chicagonk - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    Lame response from Martwick. All he had to do was respond by saying “I have been working on eliminating vacancy fraud for many years and welcome the support for my bill to address this practice from Leader Durkin.”

  11. - Responsa - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 3:10 pm:

    Focus. Any homeowner seeking and getting a tax reduction per se is usually not a problem as many here have pointed out. The large amount part and the “uninhabitable” part (complete with pictures) is the problem JB uniquely has with the tax reduction on this property.

  12. - A guy - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    Ok, Bobby M. When it’s not your primary candidate, it’s just games…otherwise it’s good legislation. Got it.

  13. - Say What? - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 5:13 pm:

    “Hire an attorney next time.”

    Which presupposes that the buildings will be damaged again in the future? There may not be a next time. Vacancies for repairs are the usual basis for appealing.

  14. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 5:23 pm:

    W Flag,

    I applied for a reduction two years in a row. One year I got a big one. The next year I got a small one. Didn’t use back doors or high priced lawyers. This process is available to everyone and usually works if you do it right.

  15. - Common sense - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 7:18 pm:

    Rich Miller - not connected? Who are you kidding? Reading the capitol fax is like reading a commercial for the Democratic Party. You are about as far from an unbiased journalist as Eric Zorn!

  16. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 8:16 pm:

    So the Martwick bill will have hearings and will be introduced NEXT year? Am I reading that response correctly?

  17. - Chicago Barb - Friday, May 19, 17 @ 1:11 pm:

    There are legitimate reasons for the vacancy reduction. I lived for many years in a small two-flat that we lived in as if it were a single family. Until we finally were able to afford to remodel and remove the sink in what had been a kitchen but we used as a bedroom, we received the vacancy reduction for many years. Once we converted to a single-family and had the water meter changed, this was no longer an issue for us.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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