Gary H. Smith
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Chicago Property Owners Foot the Bill (Again)

By Gary Smith
Chicago Property Owners Foot the Bill (Again)

On average, business and residential property owners can expect their property taxes to increase by 10 percent this year after Gov. Rauner signed a school-funding measure into law in 2017. The law changed the formula that is used to fund schools in the state so that more money is sent to schools that are located in low-income areas. The bill contained an additional $150 million for the Chicago Public Schools than the original funding bill did. In addition to the tax hike for CPS, City Hall also increased taxes to pay for pensions for police officers and firefighters. These tax increases mean that property taxes are going up across Cook County. Business and residential property owners may be able to secure reductions in their tax bills by appealing their assessments when they are received.

Tax Hikes in Cook County

In addition to the $150 million extra funding, the Chicago Public Schools stated that it will receive $221 million for teacher pensions, $76 million for low-income districts, $18.5 million for early education, and $13 million for bilingual education. The law allows the Chicago Board of Education to increase property taxes in order to generate $125 million. In addition to this tax increase, City Hall likewise passed a tax increase to pay for the pension system for firefighters and police officers. Combined, these tax hikes mean that property tax bills are expected to rise by an average of 10 percent across Cook County. The amount of the increase may be lower for suburban Cook County areas and higher in urban areas.

Why Appeals Might Help

When property owners receive their tax assessments, they have the right to appeal when the window for appeals opens. Property owners stand to lose nothing by appealing their assessments. In a majority of cases, business and residential property owners are able to secure reductions in their taxes through appeals. Property owners can appeal to the Cook County Assessor’s Office and again to the Board of Review for the most savings. Appealing property tax assessments may help property owners to save money on their taxes for the next three years if they are in the first year of the triennial assessment period.