Task force finalizing property tax proposal

Original article written by Greg Bishop of The Center Square, and shared to The Telegraph on 10/29/19. Link to original article may be found HERE.

SPRINGFIELD — State lawmakers on the Illinois Property Tax Relief Task Force say they’re getting closer to offering up final recommendations to lower the state’s second-highest in the nation property tax burden.

State Sen. Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon, is co-chair of the task force. Other members include state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and state Reps. Monica Bristow, D-Alton, and Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville.

The task force met Monday in Springfield. State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora, said the issue isn’t just about the state’s high property taxes. It’s also about housing affordability.

“When you have a house that’s valued at $128,000, paying $13,000 in property taxes, that’s outrageous,” Kifowit said.

One area to find relief, according to state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Buffalo Grove, is consolidating some of the state’s thousands of local governments, including school districts.

“We talked about school district consolidation,” Carroll said. “One of the things that was brought up was unit school districts so, over the next ten years, … we eliminate some of the administrative overhead. Certainly that’s a big concern, I think. Schools are the biggest chunk of our property taxes as we all know.”

State Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Springfield, said another cost that drives up property taxes is local police and firefighter pensions. But, Murphy said, he still hasn’t seen the governor’s proposed pensions consolidation measure in bill form.

“I’m very disappointed that we’ve been talking about this for weeks and we haven’t seen legislation yet,” Murphy said. “I’m skeptical of what the reasons are for that but hopefully we will get some legislation and we’ll have a chance to do it. Those are the things that we can do to help the taxpayers.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has yet to announce who in the state legislature will file the bill in the General Assembly.

As to the effectiveness of the task force to propose ways to lower property taxes, Murphy said the task force is too large.

“It’s almost a full half of what’s in the House,” Murphy said. “I think they’re working. It’s not like people are not working on it. It’s just, I’m skeptical still.”

The task force is set to deliver a report to the governor by the end of the year with recommendations on how to lower the state’s property tax burden.


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