The following opinion editorial from Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno was recently published in the Suburban Life publication’s Community Voice section:
Homeowners, small businesses and families in Illinois have suffered for years under high property taxes – particularly in the suburbs where taxes are rising faster than inflation and outpacing home values. To alleviate this costly burden I sponsored Gov. Bruce Rauner’s property tax reform proposal that freezes property taxes and increases local control over costs.
Illinoisans deserve action, not talk. But, talk is all we’ve gotten recently as Democrats in the Legislature continue to block our proposal.
In the latest study, over a five-year period Illinois had the third-highest residential property tax rate in the nation, behind only New Jersey and New Hampshire, according to the Tax Foundation and the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois’ May 2015 report. Other studies show Illinois having the second-highest property tax rates in the nation.
This is unacceptable. Illinois taxpayers deserve better.
Sadly, the consequence of high property taxes is that many families and businesses have been forced to leave our state, and more will follow if we don’t do something. Recently, the Senate convened a “Committee of the Whole” to receive testimony and ask questions about property tax reform.
Senate Democrat lawmakers invited testimony from a number of credentialed and educated panelists, including tax experts and education and local government representatives. However, glaringly absent from the panel were those most dramatically impacted by Illinois’ high property taxes – taxpayers.
I recognize how a property tax freeze would impact local schools and services, but our proposal, Senate Bill 1046, would give local governments the tools to lower their costs. It also empowers taxpayers. If residents want more funding for education, libraries or other services they have the authority to raise taxes through referendum.
High property taxes is the number one call I get from my constituents in the 41st district, yet Democrats refuse to come to the negotiating table to talk about relief for Illinois homeowners and employers. 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.
It is time we stop stalling, and start doing what is best for the state of Illinois. It is my hope we can work together in bipartisan fashion in the coming weeks to develop a solution that offers much-needed property tax relief for hardworking Illinois families and businesses.