Remember when suburban legislators like Diane Pappas (D-Itasca), Anne Stava-Murray (D-Naperville), and Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) all promised to make lowering property taxes a priority?
Rep. Stava-Murray called the property taxes in Illinois “absurdly high.” Property taxes are one of the: “most frequent issues raised as I speak with homeowners in my community” according to Rep. Pappas and Rep. Villa said rising property taxes would be one of her “first and foremost priorities.”
Yet, these legislators, as well as the majority of Democrats, voted for bills that drive property taxes higher. The $15 minimum wage and the minimum teacher salary will increase local governments’ costs by millions forcing them to come for more of your home.
The unbalanced budget that increased state spending and included teacher salary spiking increases will drive up pension costs for local school districts. Illinois has the worst-funded pension systems in the country and these legislators, despite their promises, made it worse.
With those votes, they empower the corrupt politicians who keep property taxes high so they can make millions of dollars getting property tax breaks for the rich and politically connected.
The suburban families these legislators represent aren’t the only ones getting hammered with high property taxes. The Metro East area is experiencing declines in both home values and populations. Yet, property taxes have doubled since 1996 and have effective tax rates nearly double the national average.
Local Reps. Monica Bristow (D-Godfrey) and Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) voted to make property taxes increase. It was easy for them to make empty political promises of property tax relief. But it will be harder to sell to voters when they receive their tax bill in the mail.
Legislators need to address pension reform at the state level to lower property taxes. Instead of passing reforms, the Democrats went another session punting on pension reform and instead forced through 21 tax and fee hikes that you will pay. Also, with the passage of the graduated income tax amendment supported by every Democrat who voted and Gov. Pritzker, legislators want to give themselves the constitutional power to increase tax rates however much they deem necessary.
They want you to trust them. They say this tax hike will provide the relief your family deserves.
But they have demonstrated with their inaction not only this session but for decades under Speaker Madigan, that no amount of taxes will ever be enough for their spending habits.
Whether your state representative has been in office for one year or forty years, families need property tax relief now. We must support bold leaders who are willing to reform state government rather than putting our trust in those who continue to uphold the status quo.