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Another confirmation that the Cook County Democratic Party made the rich richer and the poor poorer

Tuesday, Sep 22, 2020

* This is not a surprise because others have found the same problems, but still

Under Fritz Kaegi’s predecessor as Cook County assessor, commercial properties as a group were valued far too low, valuations varied widely among similar properties, and the property tax burden was unfairly shifted onto the owners of less expensive properties, according to a new study Kaegi commissioned from an international nonprofit organization.

The broad undervaluation of commercial properties under former Assessor Joseph Berrios meant residential property taxpayers paid more than their fair share of the county’s tax levy while many higher-end commercial property owners got an unauthorized break, Kaegi said in an interview. […]

For the new study, the international assessors’ group looked at 1,643 business property sales throughout Cook County in 2018 and compared the sales prices with the assessed values. It found that in the county as a whole, properties were assessed at a median of 61% of their actual sales price, far from the group’s acceptable range of 90% to 110%.

The comparison was even worse in Chicago, where the median valuation of commercial properties was found to be just 52% of sales prices. For Evanston, the figure was 39%; for Oak Park, 43%. […]

The study also also found that overall assessments were regressive, meaning less expensive properties were overvalued and more expensive ones were undervalued, which unfairly burdens less wealthy property owners. The problem was worst in Chicago’s central business district and on the Near South Side and the Northwest Side, according to the group’s analysis.

Joe Berrios chaired the Cook County Democratic Party. Lots of powerful Cook County Democrats, including the House Speaker, are property tax attorneys and represent downtown businesses.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - essentially working - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    Is “unauthorized” the right word? They were “authorized” by someone, or else they would have been paying higher taxes; maybe “inappropriate” would be a better word here…
    Regardless, I am for one am absolutely shocked…


  2. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    One more example of corrupt pay to play politics in the Democratic party in Illinois


  3. - Fav Human - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    It’s a feature, not a bug. The “system” worked as designed.


  4. - dbk - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    It would be interesting to compare specific neighborhoods/zip codes to compare and contrast assessments both commercial and residential.


  5. - SIU - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 11:53 am:

    It would also be interesting to identify the property tax appeal cases brought to Berrios by the Madigan law firm, and the results of those appeals.


  6. - CNN - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:00 pm:

    Kaegi is a PR machine who has absolutely no idea how to run the Assessors office. He pays for studies and then sends it directly to the Tribune as a distraction. I wonder why he didn’t send the press release notifying the public he has pulled back the first three towns from the Board of Review? Or what has happened to the Certificate of Error disaster from last year with all those poor people located in the great flood plains of New Trier.


  7. - Frumpy White Guy - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    Abolish all property taxes. Rely on higher income tax and user taxes and fees. The state of Illinois should be responsible for distributing the taxes to all the various school districts, villages towns, counties, etc. etc.


  8. - Senator Blutarsky - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    No strongly worded condemnation from the Gov’s office on this one?


  9. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    While powerful Democrats are busy misdirecting their constituents anger toward super minority Republicans In Illinois, they are very busy handing out perks to old, rich, white people and laughing all the way to the bank.


  10. - West Wing - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:13 pm:

    Chris Kennedy vindicated again.


  11. - thisjustin - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Cook County Assessor’s Office miscalculated the Covid relief adjustments for over 46,000 properties in two townships: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/news/thornton-proviso-covid. They raised my assessed value $3,500 while lowering “comparable properties” that have garages. Assessment appeal already filed.


  12. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===from the Gov’s office===

    I didn’t ask.


  13. - JSI - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:47 pm:

    The system isn’t broken, it’s fixed.


  14. - SSL - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.


  15. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:16 pm:

    Grumpy White Guy semi right. At least abolish school portion and increase state taxes and have state distribution of education fund. And of course consolidate school districts maybe one per county and or one per million in a county. Generally speaking younger and middle age workers are higher income and also demographic that has kids in school while retirees lower income with lower taxes and no kids in school


  16. - Fav Human - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    And, to be fair to the other “JB” I don’t think he created that system, or even made it worse.

    He just kept it running..


  17. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:30 pm:

    Property taxes stay where they are raised. Income taxes are redistributed based on political preferences. My town is better off funding our schools with almost no state aid.


  18. - notsosure - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:39 pm:

    First: Yawn. Berrios’ family and friends did a bad job at the jobs he hired them for. Old news.

    Second: Politicians pressure assessors to be mindful of the consequences of their actions, so this likely wasn’t a unilateral effort. Or new with Berrios. Not to say it’s OK, if that’s what happened; just a group effort. (and there’s a completely contrary theory that he intentionally over-valued properties so his buddies the lawyers could make $ when they successfully appealed)

    And third: Others have pointed out that Kaegi has his own problems. There’s one way to do assessments right but lots of ways to get it wrong. (I think Tolstoy said that.)


  19. - SOIL M - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:52 pm:

    Don’t people understand this whole Socialist thing that they so strongly support? There is a Ruling / Elite Class, and well, everyone else. This is the System that the majority of Cook Co. Voters want.


  20. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 2:45 pm:

    ==Kaegi is a PR machine who has absolutely no idea how to run the Assessors office.==

    He’s trying to clean-up the tax equivalent of a hoarder’s house.


  21. - Hoss - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 5:38 pm:

    Illinois’ property tax code clearly states that property must be assessed as of January 1st during the tax year in question. (35 ILCS 200) His Covid 19 “adjustment” using unemployment data is contrary to state law. There is a reason he is the only assessor doing it.
    As of January 1st, 2020 there was not any Covid influence on real estate value. He runs the risk of enriching the very property tax attorneys he despises with his ignorance of state law. Although, it is good PR.


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