Illinois House OKs Property Tax Cap

February 22, 2012

Metro Chicago real estate owners got good news on Tuesday from the Illinois House of Representatives, which voted to block suburban governments from increasing property taxes when overall home values fall.

The House voted 74-39 for Senate Bill 2073, which would prohibit cities, counties, schools and other governments from increasing property taxes in any year that the assessed value of property within their boundaries declines, unless voters agree to the increase through a referendum.

The measure is backed by State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo), who presented the bill back in November. It was shot down by a 34-73 vote.

Franks, who said the measure is designed to protect middle-class taxpayers, amended the bill and got it passed in the State House this week, but that doesn’t make it law.

The bill now must be passed in the Illinois State Senate, where it will no doubt receive major opposition, especially from school districts, which rely on property-tax revenue for funding. Other groups that will likely fight the tax freeze are firefighters, police officers and teachers, who depend on government funding for their salaries and pensions.


Governor Quinn delivers his bad-news budget address.

The House decision came a day before Governor Pat Quinn delivered his fiscal year 2013 budget address to the Illinois General Assembly.

It came as no surprise that the Governor announced cuts all over the financially strapped state, including layoffs, the closing of prisons, welfare offices and mental health facilities, and cuts to funding for health care and numerous state agencies.

There will also be cuts to state pension and Medicaid costs, though specific reforms still need to be figured out.

The Governor, whose bad news speech wasn’t interrupted once for applause, said the cuts he proposes will put state spending back to pre-2008 levels.

“The truth is that over the past 35 years, too many governors and members of the General Assembly have clung to budget fantasies rather than confronting hard realities, especially when it comes to our pension and Medicaid investments,” Governor Quinn said.

“Today I am proposing a budget that includes serious spending reductions and major reforms in order to restore fiscal stability to our state and build and grow our economy.

“Today, our rendezvous with reality has arrived.”

Categories: Economy, Featured

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