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Pop tax repeal opens door to more taxes, but Cook residents to get state break on property taxes

Thursday, Oct 12, 2017

* Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin

The most important role of a county commissioner is to pass a yearly budget that meets the needs of the residents and fairly balances services and costs.

I voted Wednesday — along with Commissioner Jerry Butler — to keep Cook County’s sweetened beverage tax because it was a tax on a small number of people rather than a general sales or property tax on all. This tax had a twofold purpose: First, it provided enough revenue to balance our 2017 budget without gimmicks. Second, it helped us fight the increase in heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis and the high cost of treatment.

Unfortunately, repeal of the sweetened beverage tax also repeals the law that prohibited the raising of any taxes by Cook County until after 2020. This tax limitation covered property taxes, sales taxes and home-rule excise taxes. The repeal of the tax limitation means all taxes are in play.

* Daily Herald

Cook County homeowners are getting a property tax break that their counterparts in other counties aren’t.

The $7,000 homeowners exemption and $5,000 senior citizen exemption are both increasing by $3,000 next year, to $10,000 and $8,000 respectively, thanks to legislation Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed. Cook County taxpayers will see the effects of the exemption increases on the second installment of their property taxes next summer, officials said.

“The exemptions hadn’t kept pace with the values of homes in Cook County,” said Tom Shaer, a spokesman for Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios. “This was designed to help lower-market and middle-class homeowners.”

The exemptions cut taxes by reducing the assessed value of homes.

Meanwhile, homeowners in the collar counties and downstate won’t see similar increases to their exemptions. The homeowners exemption will stay at $6,000 for collar county and downstate homeowners, and the senior citizen exemption will remain at $5,000. […]

Using Cook County’s most recently available average tax rate for the Northern suburbs, the change in the homeowners exemption would reduce the tax bill on a $300,000 home by about $277 next year if tax levies remain flat. People over age 65 who receive both exemptions on a $300,000 house could expect to pay about $555 less.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments »
  1. - Ron - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    Across the board spending cuts of 5-10% at Cook County will do the trick.


  2. - California Guy - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 10:46 am:

    Sounds like Cook County residents want cuts, not more taxes. Tax fatigue has folks down in the dumps….


  3. - G. Franco - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 10:49 am:

    The tax was never going to raise what Toni hoped as it reduced consumption (a little) and displaced sales of soda and lots of other stuff to the collar counties).

    Still plenty of costs to cut in bloated Cook.


  4. - Lt Guv - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    That totally sucks for those outside of Cook. Why?


  5. - MacombMike - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    Nice spin by Suffredin. The “tax limitation” was merely a resolution. No teeth. Another promise by a Cook County politicians to not raise taxes. How’s that worked out thus far?


  6. - Jason Horwitz - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    Technical clarification: The exemptions do not “cut taxes” in aggregate. The tax levy for all gov’t units stays the same. It’s just distributed across a smaller base that is now skewed more toward higher-value homes.


  7. - Hon. John Fritchey - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    The tax limitation was not a resolution, it is an enforceable ordinance. I wrote it and worked to pass it. In my opinion, there is a very legitimate question as to whether or not it is still enforceable. I intentionally omitted inserting any repealer language and as such, I think that once the sugar tax started being enforced, the freeze kicked in. Its repeal may not automatically repeal the freeze ordinance.


  8. - Ron - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Mr. Fritchey, do you have thoughts on what to cut from the county budget? The people of Cook County are definitely tired of taxes and will be happy to have less costly county services.


  9. - MrGrumply68 - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 2:04 pm:

    == First, it provided enough revenue to balance our 2017 budget without gimmicks. Second, it helped us fight the increase in heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis and the high cost ==

    Shouldnt that be the other way around?


  10. - NoGifts - Thursday, Oct 12, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    Thank you Jason Horwitz. People still don’t understand how property taxes work.


  11. - STOP SPENDING - Friday, Oct 13, 17 @ 1:26 am:

    The overhead costs of the Cook County Board , staff, etc are the first place to make cuts. Those who want to serve the residents on this board should do so with no expectations of salaries or benefits and that starts with the position of the Board President. No board candidate should be allowed on the ballot that runs UN-opposed and in the event they do not have an opponent the votes should be able to vote yes or no for that candidate with the requirement that it takes a vote of 75% YES to gain the seat.


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