Posted by Barton Lorimor
* Following a statewide, seven-figure ad buy that hits Pritzker for removing toilets from a property in the Gold Coast to take advantage of a property tax loophole, the Rauner cammpaign has announced it’s placing billboards for a dummy plumbing company bearing the Democratic candidate’s name and likeness…
A phone call placed to the “number” of “Pritzker Plumbing Inc.” answers with a recorded jingle that includes: “Pritzker Plumbing. Disconnect your toilets. Dodge your taxes,” followed by a toilet flush.
A narrator then says, “Thank you for calling Pritzker Plumbing. Our record of success dodging taxes in 2012” and goes on to recount the 2012 property tax break.
“This isn’t the first time that Pritzker has used his corrupt political connections for personal gain. Please leave a message or visit pritzkerplumbing.com to learn more,” the narrator says.
Pritzker has not directly denied engaging in the practice, and has responded in the past to the issue by bringing up property tax appeals the Governor has filed on his properties.
*** UPDATE 1 ***From Galia Slayen of the Pritzker campaign…
“The Rauner team sticking a poster on a van and calling it campaigning is the equivilant of this governor sticking his name on a budget he had nothing to do with and calling it governing. It’s lazy, desperate, and a last resort play from a failed leader who has nothing better to run on.”
That still does not address the substance of the hit. End of update.
* The mansion that served as the backdrop for Rauner’s ad was also the subject of a “sizable reduction” in its Lake County property tax assessment, per Pearson…
Lake County records show that for the 2017 property tax year, the mansion used in the ad was appraised at more than $1.7 million for property tax purposes. But on appeal, the Lake County Board of Review lowered the assessment by nearly $188,000 to $1.5 million.
Another nearby mansion owned by the Brincats but not featured in the ad also received a lowered assessment on appeal, from $1.27 million to nearly $1.21 million, records showed.
Brincat did not respond to a request for comment at his Waukegan business.
Alex Browning, a spokesman for the Rauner campaign, contended the Brincats’ action was different than Pritzker’s.
“Mr. Brincat’s property tax reassessment is a standard appeal that many homeowners in Illinois file annually. Pritzker altered the structure and function of a home, made the argument that it was ‘uninhabitable,’ and used insider connections with (Cook County Assessor Joe) Berrios’ office to save $230,000 in taxes.”
* Speaking of Cook County property levies…
Average tax bills for single-family homes in the south suburbs were $247.39 higher in 2016 than in 2017 — an increase of about 5 percent — while those in the north suburbs went up around $213, or 3 percent, during that period, according to the Cook County clerk.
Cook County Clerk David Orr said the amount that municipalities asked for in property taxes increased by 16 percent over the last three years, and it’s a “trend that I’m concerned about.”
“If you want to look to the future, this is something we as a society — at the federal, state and county levels — could do something about,” Orr said.
The varying rates may be explained by inequity and “historic racial issues,” Orr said.
The wealthier areas, which have more industry and more commercial properties to levy taxes on, don’t have to ask for more in property taxes. But lower income areas, which may have fewer commercial spaces or other industries, ask for more in property taxes because they still need to govern, Orr said.
That isn’t confined to Cook County, of course. There are TIFs here in Springfield that have more EAV to work with than whole counties in the southernmost part of the state. it boggles my mind how those officials can govern and offer comparable services, like quality education, given those circumstances. Imagine in Cook, the kids in the poorer neighborhoods and subs are relying on those lesser funded systems to prepare them for the same opportunities those from the wealthier areas are also vying.
Money doesn’t guarantee success, but it sure doesn’t hurt your chances.