Property Tax Proposals Meet with Chilly Reception

Property Tax Balance A mayoral candidate’s idea for a tiered system of property tax rates that would tax higher-priced homes at higher rates was short-lived.

Another idea to establish a statewide property tax to help pay off pension obligations was decisively rejected by suburban voters in November before it was ever even formally proposed. The referendum was seen as a way to discourage any attempts to introduce such a proposal – based on an idea from three Federal Reserve of Chicago economists reported earlier this year.

The chilly reception in both cases illustrates the hurdles around proposals that have the potential to raise property tax rates, especially in an election year, and especially in areas like Chicago, where property owners are still absorbing the sting of four years of phased-in property tax hikes.

That’s a key challenge to efforts to address a system of property assessment in Cook County that an investigation by the Chicago Tribune and subsequent studies found imposed higher tax rates on some of the poorest neighborhoods.

With the budget needs that drove $589 million in new Chicago property taxes still pressing, the zero-sum nature of assessments means that any reforms that reduce assessments for one group of homeowners have to be offset with increases on other homeowners.

That calculation was something mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza’s political opponents seized upon, and Mendoza quickly dropped the idea of the tiered system one newspaper columnist described as a “lakefront tax” in favor of a system that is fairer, but without imposing any additional rate hikes, according to news reports.

Newly elected Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi will be up against the same math, however, as he works to tweak the assessment process. Kaegi has pledged to make the process fairer and more transparent.

Take Steps to Reduce Your Property Tax Bite

As the backdrop to reading your own property tax bill, efforts to reform a flawed system of establishing property assessments may be encouraging, but proposals and pledges won’t tell you whether the assessment on your property leaves you paying more than your fair share.

The only way to know for sure is to appeal. Appeals are built into the system as a way of ensuring that the formula does not create an unfair result for individual property owners. An appeal assures that your assessment is evaluated individually against other comparable properties for evidence of disparity.  At Kensington, we put decades of experience and a proprietary algorithm to work to determine if there is a strong case to be made for reducing your assessment.

Free Review of Property Tax Assessment Can Determine if You Are Paying Too Much

If you think you might be paying too much, there’s a process you can use for a professional opinion – at no cost and with no obligation to use our services to help with an appeal. If we do find a strong case for reducing your assessment, you can hire us to assist in preparing your appeal. There is no charge unless you win.  And our clients usually do.

Call us, or click on the link below for more information or to get started with a free, no-obligation review of your tax bill.

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