Hard-hit Chicago Homeowners Could Face Additional Property Tax Hikes
Faced with a pension crisis and a budget shortfall of $838 million next year, Chicago’s mayor says additional property tax increases cannot be ruled out.
In comments made as part of her state of the city speech and more recently at a conference for municipal bond investors, Mayor Lori Lightfoot made it clear that other proposals for closing the gap, including the refinancing of some high-cost debt, may not be enough to avoid having to go back to property owners for the revenue that will be needed to meet the city’s pension obligations and other budget needs.
The gap, a third of which is attributed to pension costs, is the result of the city’s long-term failure to meet pension obligations and fix the structural problems that have caused the crisis, Lightfoot said.
Among other efforts aimed at shrinking the city’s debt, Lightfoot is attempting to revive plans for a Chicago casino that backers hope could create a dedicated revenue stream to help pay for pension costs.
“If we don’t secure the casino and the revenue it creates, we will be forced to make painful choices on finding other revenue sources – and we all know what those are …,” Lightfoot said. “I cannot in good faith promise you that I will take any option off the table to tackle this crisis.”
The possibility of additional property tax increases, while never a popular idea, is particularly unwelcome among residents hit by recent reassessments on the city’s North Side and central neighborhoods.
More Tax Hikes Would Add to the Pain of Recent Reassessments
According to Crain’s Chicago Business, those neighborhoods are facing average bills that have gone up 11.46 percent and 11.29 percent respectively.
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi has moved to shift some of the burden to commercial and industrial properties, including sharp increases in assessments in Evanston and Barrington, but it is not enough to take additional tax increases off the table for Chicago homeowners.
Making Sure Your Property is Assessed Fairly and Accurately
No matter where you live in Cook County, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself against a property tax bill that is higher than it should be is to appeal your assessment. An over-assessment of your property’s taxable value can inflate your tax bill for years, eating away at the value of what is likely your most important investment.
At Kensington, we have deep expertise in identifying the comparable properties that will make the strongest possible case for your appeal and we make sure that our clients’ appeals are filed both with the assessor’s office and followed up by a second appeal at the Board of Review. Our clients have the peace of mind that comes from knowing they did everything they could to avoid paying more than their fair share of property taxes.
If you believe your assessment may be too high, call us for a free, no obligation analysis of your property tax situation. If you use us to assist with an appeal, you pay nothing unless we win. We have helped thousands of taxpayers save thousands of dollars on their tax bills, with results that few other property tax services can claim.