* 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.