* Greg Hinz…
Pritzker had to do some bargaining. Two Democratic reps who had signaled opposition, Northbrook’s Jonathan Carroll and Sam Yingling of Round Lake, in the end got a promise the House this summer will consider steps to guarantee some property tax relief as part of a graduated income hike, which under current plans would hit only taxpayers with income of more than $250,000 a year.
The governor also had to engage in some Illinois-style finagling, as one Democratic rep who was opposed to the bill, Jerry Costello, miraculously left the General Assembly to take a job with—surprise!—the Pritzker administration and was replaced by someone with a different view.
Rauner did that I don’t know how many times. Quinn did it the opposite way: Vote for his tax hike and then get handed a sweet government gig.
* Capitol News Illinois…
While Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker played no formal role in the legislative process to put the amendment on the ballot, at least one Democrat who previously said he would vote against the bill credited the governor for his sudden switch.
“I was a very vocal critic about this, obviously, I came out with some concerns,” said Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook. “… Governor Pritzker reached out to me right away, had some conversations with me and heard that my issue is property taxes.
“Along with his help and the help of my colleagues in the House and the Senate, we’re going to form a property tax task force to review how we tax in Illinois for property taxes and make sure that we do it better and we do it right.”
The state does not levy or collect property taxes in Illinois; only local taxing bodies such as school boards, municipal governments and counties have that authority. The largest contributor to most local tax bills are K-12 schools, which for years have faced funding shortfalls and proration from insufficient revenues provided by the state.
Still, Carroll and Rep. Sam Yingling — a Grayslake Democrat who also said at one time he would vote against the graduated tax — said state action is needed to overhaul the property tax system and the graduated tax is part of that process.
Another task force.
* Will this be any different than all previous task forces? From a press release…
The Property Tax Relief Task Force would be created through an amendment to the fair tax rate legislation that passed the Senate earlier this month, and the group would be required to report back to the Governor and the General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2019. An initial report will be due 90 days after the law takes effect.
“For far too long, families across Illinois have struggled under too-high property tax burdens and an unfair income tax system that protects the wealthiest,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “This task force is a commonsense addition to the fair tax, which aims to protect the middle class and those striving to get there while those making $250,000 and above pay more.”
The Property Task Relief Task Force will be charged with using a racial and economic equity lens to identify the causes of increasingly burdensome property taxes across Illinois, review best practices in public policy strategies that create short- and long-term property tax relief for homeowners, and make recommendations to assist in the development of short- and long-term administrative, electoral, and legislative changes to create short- and long-term property tax relief for homeowners.
The group will include two appointees from the Office of the Governor, as well as members of the House and Senate appointed by their chambers’ leaders. An overview of the measure is attached.
So, if you were wondering if the House was going to take up the Senate’s rate bill, there’s your answer. It’s going to be paired with the task force language.
* Another idea was also floated this week…
State Senators Terry Link and Julie Morrison, & State Representatives Daniel Didech, Rita Mayfield, and Bob Morgan introduced HB 3845 to address the crippling effects of Illinois’ property taxes. To enact a tax system that is truly fair for all Illinois residents, the adoption of a graduated income tax structure should be accompanied with reform that will lower property tax bills for every homeowner in Illinois.
* In the event that the Governor’s Fair Tax proposal is approved by Illinois voters in 2020, create the Illinois Property Tax Rebate Fund which will receive money appropriated by the General Assembly.
* Begin with initial allocation of at least $400 million in 2021. This allocation will provide an estimated $200 in property tax relief for every Illinois resident claiming a Homestead exemption.
* Establish dedicated funding streams growing the Fund to $1 billion by 2023. This funding will provide approximately $500 in annual property tax relief to each homeowner.
* Money will flow from the Fund through county treasurers, who will reduce homeowners’ property tax bills and lower each homeowners’ property tax bill.
* This proposal will not impact local government levies or school funding.
* This Fund will help stabilize the property tax burden being felt throughout the State of Illinois.
* Every region of Illinois will benefit from the Fund, reducing each homeowners’ property tax bill equally regardless of property values.
* This Fund creates structural change in our property tax system - relieving the burden on homeowners without impacting funding for education or other critical local services.
I’m thinking that idea to lower everybody’s property tax bills equally may not go over too well in some quarters. We’ll see.