No “Silver Bullet” for Property Tax Relief in Illinois
Created by the General Assembly in the summer of 2019 to address an “opaque” and unpopular system that has left Illinois with the second highest tax rate in the country, a property tax relief task force recommended a four-part, decade-long attack.
The group’s recommendations – summarized in a draft report included as part of a study Treasurer Maria Pappas released documenting the 20-year climb of Cook County property taxes – illustrate the difficulty of revamping a tax system built around the funding needs of 6,968 separate taxing districts. That’s more than any other state in the country by a margin of 2,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data cited in the report. Second-place Pennsylvania has nearly 5,000.
Consolidating such government units is at the heart of the recommendations made by the 88-member legislative task force, which held dozens of hearings around the state over a five-month period in 2019.
Property Tax System Flaws a Well-Tilled Topic in Illinois
“That property taxes are a source of pain is hardly news to Illinois property owners,” the report’s authors write. “Indeed, this field has been plowed before. The state has created property tax study commissions in the recent and not-so-recent past, including in 1982, 1996, 1998 and 2009. None of them solved the problem. Property taxes remain a problem because the state relies so heavily on them to fund public services.”
The report’s recommendations include a broad strategy of consolidation, especially among school districts, over a transition period of up to 10 years. There are 300 elementary school districts and 100 high school districts across the state, each with its own administrative staff, according to the report.
Other recommendations include restructuring of some exemptions, speeding the appeal process and greater transparency around the impact of special taxing districts. But the task force left no illusions of a quick fix.
“If there were a silver bullet, someone would have found it,” the report says. It will take multiple changes to effect real change for the largest number of Illinoisans.”
What You Can Do to Get Property Tax Relief Now
While efforts to make the property tax burden in Illinois fairer and more predictable may be reason to hope, they won’t do much to alleviate the tax burden you face now. To ensure you’re not paying more than your fair share of property taxes today, you need a close look at the factors by which your assessment is calculated. That’s where we can help.
At Kensington Research & Recovery, our property tax experts have been helping property owners save money on their tax bills for decades by analyzing their assessment and putting together the strongest possible analysis for a reduction. We use the most up-to-date data from the assessor’s office and a proprietary algorithm to help find our clients property tax relief they don’t have to wait a decade for.
If you think you may be paying too much in property taxes, give us a call or click on the link below for a free analysis. If you hire us to assist you, you pay nothing unless you win.