Study reveals Cook County property owners feeling pinch


CHICAGO – In its report, the government accountability group attempted to determine how much taxpayers pay each year relative to the market value of their properties. By doing this the group created an “effective tax rate.”

For example, in Chicago the average homeowner, last year, had to pay 1.84 percent of the estimated market value of their home. That’s a 4.3 percent increase from the prior tax year, according to the Civic Federation report.

Over time, such increases add up.

Between tax years 2003 and 2012 the effective tax rate on Chicago homeowners went up 32.4 percent.

In suburban Cook, the increases are staggering.

For example, Barrington homeowners saw their tax rates shoot up 76.4 percent during that period. For Schaumburg, tax bills shot up 111.4 percent and in Harvey the effective tax rate went up 137.5 percent.

State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said property tax rates are the No. 1 issue among his constituents. He added those taxes could be lowered if more governmental units would consolidate and the state quit passing expensive mandates for local governments.

“We have the second highest property tax rates in the nation, only New Jersey is higher,” McSweeney said. “Property taxes and regulations are hurting jobs and killing economic growth here in Illinois, “

In the collar counties surrounding Cook, taxes are levied at the same rates for both commercial properties as well as residential ones.

And the effective tax rates went up across suburbia.

For example, over the course of 10 years, Elk Grove Village’s effective tax rate went up 124.6 percent, Waukegan’s rate escalated 169.4 percent and Carpenterville’s rose 110.2 percent.

Carol Portman, president of the Illinois Taxpayers Federation, said Illinois is overly reliant on property taxes. She added the system is confusing for property owners because their tax bills contain various rates and levies from many units of government.

“Just about any way you slice it and dice it we are one of the highest tax states in the country as far as our reliance on property taxes. … You can’t blame someone who gets their property tax bill and it’s higher than it was the year before. And they don’t feel their house is worth anymore. Of course they are going to be angry. Property taxes are always unpopular.”