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Another year, another property tax task force

Friday, May 31, 2019

* Daily Herald

Before the vote [on the graduated income tax constitutional amendment], “the governor personally reached out and said ‘it’s a priority of mine … I want to understand why you are in opposition to this,’” [Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook] recounted, adding he told Pritzker, “If we’re going to fix how we tax, it has to start with local property taxes.”

Likewise, [Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake], who said he’d vote against the graduated tax, also received Pritzker time.

“The governor was very proactive and engaging in a number of conversations,” said Yingling, who also pushed property tax relief. “The governor realizes this is a problem that hurts middle-class families and has to be addressed head-on.”

The result? Unenthused Democrats, including Carroll, Yingling, Rep. Daniel Didech of Buffalo Grove — who initially told the Daily Herald he opposed a graduated tax — and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego, who took no position, voted for the constitutional amendment Monday, helping to pass it in a 73-44 vote. Pritzker created a Property Tax Relief Task Force that is required to report back by Dec. 31 on how to reduce taxes. Members will include legislators and Pritzker staffers.

Rep. Carroll sponsored the legislation creating that task force, but it stalled yesterday when Republicans complained that it didn’t guarantee bipartisan membership. An amendment was filed this morning which allows all four legislative leaders to appoint task force members.

Yingling is a co-sponsor as are Reps. Stephanie Kifowit and Bob Morgan, who voted against the income tax rates bill yesterday.

* But is another task force really gonna solve anything? Here’s that Third Center Square from the Sun site

“We had a task force that was created last General Assembly that had a couple of subject matter hearings, but that was the extent of it,” said state Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford. “I’m just curious what this means by having teeth in it because I don’t see anything within the wording of the task force that dictates or mandates any particular thing to happen.”

State Rep. Margo McDermed said she wasn’t impressed.

“I have no confidence whatsoever that anything will change other than the folks that like the status quo the way it is will destroy your hopes,” she told Carroll.

Carroll said the governor had reassured him that changing the way the state taxes residents must change.

Illinois has created task forces or commissions of one form or another to address property taxes in 1975, 1982, 1998, 2009, and 2018, according to an Illinois Department of Revenue report and comments from Sosnowski.

* Related…

* House OK, sends to Senate rates for graduated income tax: But House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, said he was proud to be the “party of no” on some of the state’s previously passed unbalanced budgets. He said “history will not look kindly” on the General Assembly for the changes to the tax code and the “anti-business agenda” he said Democrats were pushing in the past four months.

* Springfield scramble: Crunch time for legislators on pot, gaming, budget, other issues: During debate, State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, likened taxing the wealthy to the wild: “That’s what hyenas do to animals in the wild.” “They divide them, they sanction them up and they after after the small group because they’re easier to attack,” Davidsmeyer said. But bill sponsor State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, championed it as a way for voters to have a say in a historic way: “I would suggest stability is better than what we have right now.”

* With a Full Slate, Time is Running Out for Illinois Lawmakers: Democrats say passing the new rate table this early will help to assure voters as they decide whether to back the constitutional change. … But Republicans say these are merely “teaser” rates during what’s sure to be a hard-fought campaign on the amendment, which are sure to spike in the future. “This is just a poorly structured package. It gives no guarantees to the taxpayers. It’s a huge tax increase across the board,” said Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills.

* Illinois House OKs graduated tax rate schedule: Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, said a tax hike focused on the wealthy could lead to problems if there is a downturn in the economy that affects wealthy earners. “When their income goes down the drop is going to be precipitous,” he said. Democrats, though, said the flat tax system is unfair to lower and middle incomes. Rep. Michael Halpin, D-Rock Island, said incomes for the wealthy have grown under the flat tax while others have stagnated. “Who’s done better under the flat tax? The top 1 percent,” he said. “So ask yourself who is being protected by the flat tax system.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    Of course, the purpose of task forces is to provide immediate political cover.

    But the information gathered can be essential if the time comes when the political will to act is mustered.

    It’s never been a mystery in Illinois as to the choices for cutting property taxes:

    1. Local school districts must cut spending due to lost revenue.

    2. State income taxes must be increased to make up for the lost revenue.

    3. Local option income taxes could be allowed to make up for lost revenue.

    That’s all been obvious for decades.

  2. - Generic Drone - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    Illinois. Where we create task forces instead of accomplishments. Maybe they can create a task force to study creating task forces.

  3. - truthteller - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    we have a guy elected as a governor who is trying his best to address issues and engage all sides to help out. Something we have not seen in Illinois is a very long time. I’d say lets give this some time and see what happens if bth sides care up coming up with solutions instead of the same old crap we have previous put up with.

  4. - serious - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    If they were really serious, they’d put together a blue ribbon commission.

  5. - anon2 - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    The solutions are the same as they were when previous task forces examined the issue.

    1) Reduce the number of units of local government, almost all of which rely upon property taxes. Since Illinois ranks number 1 in units of local government, there is plenty of room for streamlining, consolidation, and elimination.
    2) Significantly boost state funding of public education. Illinois provides a smaller portion of education funding than about any state.

    Any reforms that do not include those two won’t make much difference.

  6. - SSL - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    What people don’t understand is that this new task force will have special powers available to them that prior task forces did not. These include the ability to put certain government agencies and officials on double secret probation, as well as approval to violate protocol and go directly to the dreaded triple dog dare whenever they desire.

    Good things will come of this.

  7. - Minnie Pearl Jam - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    GOP: The task force needs Republicans on it.

    Dems: Ok. You’re on it.

    GOP: The task force is now unimportant.

  8. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    Republicans can finally contribute to governance of the state by creating a task force to study the effectiveness of task forces

  9. - Pick a Name - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    So it will take 7 months to come up with several ideas to reduce property taxes—sheesh.

    I like what one radio talk show host stated, “while you gather information from a task force, freeze property taxes(the actual amount we are paying now) for 2 years.

  10. - Thomas Paine - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 12:48 pm:


    You could add a few:

    1) Sales tax expansion

    2) Impact fees. Right now, schools have to go through municipalities to levy impact fees, and it’s based on land value. Allowing school districts to levy impact fees directly on new development based on projected enrollment impact, and allowing those funds to be used for more than just capital would really help suburban districts.

    3) Rethink caps. Schools have a tendency to raise property taxes to the max, regardless of the need, in fear they might need the money some day. Once they collect the money, of course they have to find a way to spend the money. the ceiling has become the floor. It needs to be fixed.

  11. - DuPage Moderate - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    Still don’t understand how its “unfair” for someone to pay 5% of 1,000,000 vs’ someone paying 5% of 50,000.

    $50,000 vs $2,500. Seems pretty fair.

  12. - Thomas Paine - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 12:57 pm:


    You could add a few:

    1) Sales tax expansion

    2) Impact fees.

    3) Rethink caps. Schools have a tendency to raise property taxes to the max, regardless of the need, in fear they might need the money some day. Once they collect the money, of course they have to find a way to spend the money. the ceiling has become the floor. It needs to be fixed.

  13. - Just Observing - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 12:57 pm:

    === Impact fees. Right now, schools have to go through municipalities to levy impact fees, and it’s based on land value. Allowing school districts to levy impact fees directly on new development based on projected enrollment impact, and allowing those funds to be used for more than just capital would really help suburban districts. ===

    Impact fees are the biggest, most abusive scam out there. Greedy governments almost universally ignore the law related to impact fees, that they must be uniquely and specifically attributable to the new development and only for new construction. Almost no governments conduct real needs assessment analysis, and almost all are illegally using the money for operational purposes.

  14. - Pundent - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 12:59 pm:

    Great talk show host comment completely separated from the reality of what property taxes are and how they’re set.

  15. - Bourbon Street - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    @DuPage Moderate. I would hazard an educated guess that $2500 means a lot more to someone who earns $50,000 than $50,000 means to someone who earned $1 million.

  16. - Thomas Paine - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 1:16 pm:

    @Just Observing:

    Can you share a link to the report or study you are basing that on?

    Or, are we assuming anecdotal observations from our own immediate surroundings are universal truths once again?

    As far as I know, there is not even a central report of impact fees by municipality anywhere.

  17. - Suburban Mom - Friday, May 31, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    People move to Northbrook because of the schools that those high property taxes fund. I’m super-unclear on what Carroll’s angle is. North Shore property values and community appeal is HEAVILY based on high local property taxes that keep the schools overfunded and poor people out. Like, what is the practical consequence for Carroll’s constituency of property tax relief?

  18. - Looking down the Road - Wednesday, Jun 5, 19 @ 12:41 pm:

    I don’t believe that any significant property tax relief is going to happen. It would take 7-8 Billion to do so and the money isn’t there. Just to stop the state pension overhang from increasing (actuarially required contributions) alone would take the 3.4 Billion proposed income tax increase. That doesn’t count municipal pension obligations that are going to keep driving property taxes up. No “Task Force” can change the numbers.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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