Illinois is becoming a home equity desert.

The highest property taxes in the nation are stripping families of both their home’s value and their ability to get a return on the largest investment most will make in their lifetime.

Breaking: Illinois’ property tax system is inequitable, inefficient, and indecipherable.

In nearly every other state and municipality, the property tax system is simple:  A tax assessor produces a value for your home (X), which is then multiplied by a standard rate (Y), to give you your annual tax bill.

For example: A house valued at (X) $500,000 multiplied by the rate of (Y) 1% gives a homeowner an annual tax bill of $5,000.  In this system, there are only two possible reasons for a larger bill:

  •     If (X) goes up, it’s because your property value went up, which may not necessarily be a bad thing. 
  •     If (Y) goes up, blame your local politician for raising the rate. 

Unlike the rest of the country, Illinois’ property tax system is deliberately convoluted and involves a variety of assessed values and multiplier rates. Deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphics may have been less complicated, and state politicians are not eager to provide residents with their own Rosetta Stone.

As a result, Illinois families and businesses are faced with the highest property tax rates in the nation. Many have been forced out of their homes. Others have seen the most significant investment of their lives become a liability. 

Nationally, the average property tax rate as a percentage of home value is .9%.

In Illinois, the average property tax rate as a percentage of home values is 2.3%. Nearly two and a half times higher than the national average. And families in Illinois are certainly not getting two and a half times better services than families in Indiana or Wisconsin. Many cannot get the services they need at all.

In on of Chicago’s most economically depressed areas, a four-bedroom, red brick bungalow at 12252 S. State Street that sold for $39,000 on April 4 had a property tax bill of $2,219, or an effective property tax rate of 5.7 percent, nearly six times the national average.

Cook County’s Assessor says the home is worth several times more: $147,070. 

On the south side of the West Pullman neighborhood, according to a report in Chicago City Wire, a three-bedroom home at 12912 W. Peoria St. sold for $60,000 on April 11. The assessor says that home is worth almost twice that amount: $108,210.

Thirteen blocks north, another home sold the same day for $9,000; the assessor says it is worth ten times that, or $95,660.

This practice can hardly be described as “making the wealthy pay their fair share.” Very simply, bureaucrats in state and city government are preying on those without political clout to protect the schemes and systems that keep them in power. They are intentionally hurting those they claim to protect.  

As much as we would like to write this immoral practice off as just being part of “The Chicago Way,” it extends far beyond Chicago. Across the state, home values are being eroded as property taxes soar.  A report in the DuPage Policy Journal reveals that every community in DuPage County, including its most-affluent areas, saw home values plummet over the past decade.

Glen Ellyn, Oakbrook Terrace and Naperville each saw home values fall 19%. Wheaton has sustained a 22% decline. And in Downers Grove home values dropped by 23%.

Illinois state and municipal bureaucrats prey on families from all walks of life to protect the power they hold in government.

Illinois residents have a choice: either put restraints on government or continue allowing the government to force people out of their homes. Revolt or Bolt.

At the Illinois Opportunity Project, we have relentlessly pursued a small-government Policy Revolution. For that reason, we are actively supporting the Homeowners Defense Association’s (HDA) effort to get a 1% Property Tax Cap Advisory Referendum on the 2018 Ballot. This measure has the dual benefit of protecting the largest investment most people make in their lifetimes, while forcing spending discipline and prioritization at local and state level.

A 1% hard cap will force state government to remove itself from initiatives it has proven poor at managing, and to properly fund K-12 education. The same policy has seen demonstrable success in the red state of Indiana and blue state of California.

The measure is an unequivocal opportunity for the people of Illinois to protect their investments, as well as their families, neighbors and businesses from predatory government officials who have failed them for decades.

We invite you to join us in defending your home and revolutionizing Illinois government through a 1 percent property tax cap. Learn more about the Homeowners Defense Association. Then print and circulate a petition.  

Illinois politicians from both parties have proven that they either can’t or won’t be responsible with your money. In 2018, don’t reward them. Restrain them.

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