May 17, 2022
By Mark Cavers
There is a famous scene in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass where Alice is in a race with the Red Queen, and she has to run faster and faster just to stay in place.
It’s a story familiar to Illinois families who, for thirty years, have paid more and more in property taxes just to maintain the same or worse services and haven’t seen an increase in their home values.
This painful dynamic is starkly presented in a new report from Wirepoints Inc. They find that families here experienced the 3rd-worst growth in median home values in the nation while paying the highest property taxes in the nation.
For many families, their home is the largest investment they will ever make. Yet, Wirepoints’ report explains how property taxes undermine home values and destroy the financial security middle-income families deserve. That is because the median home in Illinois is worth less than it would be in a state with a more favorable property tax climate.
In Lake County, families pay 8% of their household incomes in property taxes. An unsustainable amount and why thousands of families are flocking just a few miles north across the border into Wisconsin.
Homeowners expect their home values to steadily increase, providing them with an asset to fund their retirement or build their wealth. Their home is an investment.
Not in Illinois, which has the nation’s 3rd-worst growth in median home values since 2000, growing just 3 percent. So homeowners pay taxes, pay taxes, and pay taxes. But never get ahead.
Sound familiar? Families are struggling with the same dynamic as the skyrocketing cost of daily life rapidly erodes their real income.
You might make the same amount of money as last year, or maybe you earned a raise and are making even more. But the cost of everything is going up. From food to gas, you can afford less. So you have to work harder and make more money just to keep up.
In Illinois, it is made worse by a steadily increasing tax burden that takes a chunk out of every family’s income. Viewed in this light, it is understandable why many people are fleeing.
The Red Queen says, “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
It is easy to imagine Illinois’ version: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the property taxes you can pay just to maintain your quality of life. If you want to see an increase in home value or services, you need to pay twice as much!”
It doesn’t have to be this way. Wirepoints has demonstrated how Governor Pritzker’s policies have worsened our property tax crisis. Those policies need to change.
Call Governor Pritzker’s office at 217-782-6830 and tell him you don’t support his policy agenda that increases the property tax burden on working families.