* 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.