The co-author of the most recent report showing Illinois to have amongst the highest property taxes in the nation will take center stage in the Illinois Senate today. Carol Portman, President of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois has been invited to testify before the Senate Committee of the Whole.
“Homeowners, small businesses and families have suffered for years under high property taxes in Illinois,” Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) said. “They deserve action, not talk. We are hopeful the legislative Democrats hear the compelling testimony and come back to the negotiating table. It’s the only way to reach a bipartisan compromise on a balanced budget, a property tax freeze, and real reform for Illinois.”
A May, 2015 report from the Tax Foundation and the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois shows Illinois residential property taxes are the 3rd-highest in the country, behind only New Jersey and New Hampshire in a five-year period.
The Taxpayers’ Federation study is one of several which show property taxes have been a major problem in Illinois, rising to among the highest levels of any state, according to recent studies:
- According to a 2015 study from WalletHub, real estate taxes in Illinois on a median-value home average have risen to nearly $4,000, the second-highest of any state behind New Jersey.
- According to a 2013 study by the Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center using U.S. Census data, Illinois has the 2nd-highest property taxes in the country, at a combined rate of 2.32 percent, second only to New Jersey.
According to Sen. Radogno, the needs of middle-class property taxpayers have been overlooked for far too long.
“Sadly, the consequence of high property taxes is that many families and businesses have left our state, and more will follow if we don’t do something,” Radogno said, “but they’ve been left out of the debate by the legislative Democrats.” Senate Democrats have not invited taxpayers to provide testimony in the controlled public hearing on the Senate floor.
The Senate Democrats have called for the Committee of the Whole, inviting testimony from three panels, including tax expert Portman, Connie Beard, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue and Gordy Hulten, Champaign County Clerk. A second panel will include education groups, including Advance Illinois and school superintendents. A third panel will include representatives of local government, including David Bennett of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Jeannie Dilger of LaGrange Public Library and John Christian of the Grayslake Fire Protection District.
Last month, Senate Democrats voted to kill Governor Rauner’s property tax freeze -- sponsored by Radogno -- on a party-line 11-6 committee vote. The freeze would have held down Illinois’ high property taxes while retaining local control, directly addressing several of the contributing factors to high costs at the local level.
“These aren’t some abstract numbers,” Radogno said. “Property taxes reflect a real problem for families and businesses. Constituents ask me how it’s possible for their property taxes to constantly go up, even when the value of their house has gone down. Clearly, the answer our state has been giving them hasn’t been good enough for quite some time.”