Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Protecting Homes Before Studios

Once again, my posting has slowed as the result of a busy schedule, holiday, etc. And I'm not sure that the next 5-7 days will be much more productive on the blogging front.

I have been wanting to weigh in on the Governor's education proposal, but I figured that it has been getting enough coverage and discussion as is. But before I get back to other work however, I do want to touch on one aspect of this issue.

Over the past couple of days, many of my constituents have been receiving reassessment notices for their homes. And three years after getting increases of 40-100%, they are once again getting increases of...40-100%. Same home, same neighborhood, absurd taxes. By example, when we moved into our home about nine years ago, the property taxes were about $3800. With the latest reassessment, we will be looking at a tax bill of about $20,000.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that while about half of our tax bill goes to the Chicago Board of Education, the public school two blocks from my house is one of the worst-performing in the area, graduating just 8 kids last year. What's wrong with this picture? A lot.

The point of this is that while the Governor proposes to pump billions more into our school system, and while he aggressively worked to give tax relief to film producers who shoot in Illinois, many of his neighbors are being faced with having to sell their homes because of our overreliance on property taxes in the funding of school. His proposal does nothing to address this issue, although in his defense I guess, he never claimed that it did.

But this issue has been around long before the near ten years ago since I joined the General Assembly, and long before my predecessor, the Governor, joined the House before that. It has not gone away, nor will it, until something is done to address it head on. Given the propensity of elected officials to think in terms of election cycles rather than real world timeframes, I am dubious that any meaningful reforms are on the horizon.

The exception to this would be the convening of a Constitutional Convention a couple of years from now, something which I think would be in the best interest of the State on a number of fronts.

There is arguably no more pressing issue in my area than that of property taxes, and I believe that I echo the thoughts of a number of my surrounding colleagues in saying that, given this fact as well as the numerous other questions surrounding the proposal, it will be exceedingly difficult (impossible?) to get many of us to support this measure. Couple that with the reported upon concerns of Downstate Democrats about the proposal, and this is looking a lot like a non-starter.

I will be keeping tabs here, but may not post for the next week, but thanks as always for checking in.


At May 31, 2006 at 9:53 AM, Anonymous NW burbs said...

JF wrote: "Over the past couple of days, many of my constituents have been receiving reassessment notices for their homes. And three years after getting increases of 40-100%, they are once again getting increases of...40-100%. Same home, same neighborhood, absurd taxes. By example, when we moved into our home about nine years ago, the property taxes were about $3800. With the latest reassessment, we will be looking at a tax bill of about $20,000."

(A) - These are reassessments, not tax increases. You can appeal your property value assessment through your local assessor's office (most often with the local township). You can appeal the cost of your tax investment next election day.

If you don't think you're getting a good return on your tax investment (what other factors are at work in that school? how many kids were in the class that had only 8 graduates -- there's a big difference between 8 of 10 and 8 of 40).

(B) - If your property values are going up that's normally a good thing. To counteract the assessor's reassessment you can check the Multiple Listing Service for homes similar to yours to see what they sold for -- if they're sale prices are in line with your current assessment there may not be much you can do in appealing.

Rather than complain about a 3800 to 20000 increase you should've appealed your reassessment 3 years ago and 6 years ago. If you didn't that's your own fault and not much use complaining about.

At May 31, 2006 at 10:03 AM, Anonymous Dave Dorsett said...

Rep. Fritchey,
Now if only some of your colleagues can be convinced! If no steps are taken- and soon- to fundamentally change the funding of schools, then Illinois will see young families and retirees leaving in droves. Thirty to fifty years (the time this has been talked about) is more than enough to come up with a plan.

One of the keys is to realize that we can't continue to put off all the hard choices onto future generations. We have already saddled them with massive debt- with inaction on this subject they will simply choose to leave. And who could blame them?

At May 31, 2006 at 10:03 AM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...


1-I said 'increases' in direct reference to the reassessment notices. As I stated, there were reassessment increases in the stated amounts.

2-I, along with countless people I know, did appeal the reassessment, the numbers that I shared are after the appeals.

3-They graduated 8 out of about 30 students. You don't see a problem there?

4-Increasing property values are a good thing when you sell your home. Talk to many seniors who want nothing more than to die in the homes in which they have lived for decades but can no longer afford to stay and ask them how they feel about the increasing home prices in the neighborhoods. They should not be forced to pay this type of price for gentrification.

Nuf said.

At May 31, 2006 at 10:28 AM, Blogger Cal Skinner said...

What percentage of the current value of your home do you pay in real estate taxes?

My home's percentage in Crystal Lake is about 2%.

At May 31, 2006 at 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely put Representative - just wished your colleagues (and predecessor) understood it as well as you.

At June 1, 2006 at 4:54 PM, Anonymous SangamoGOP said...

Of course, finding a solution is only hampered by moves such at Daley, once again, increasing the property tax rate to the max - Or, the fact that CPS can't seem to figure out how to produce students who will be successful in the future. What did a recent study show, only 6% of African-American and Hispanic CPS graduates ever graduate from college???

At June 2, 2006 at 10:59 PM, Blogger respectful said...

The large number of TIF districts in Daleyland raises the property tax burden on homeowners (it shifts it). So does the large amount of tax exempt property in the City. If the state increased by 20% its funding to the CPS so property taxes could be lowered by, say, 15%, would that make any measurable difference in quality of education?

At June 3, 2006 at 1:02 AM, Anonymous silentk said...

Reassessments based on the price of neighborhood properties is not a fair way to assess my property value. I did not tear down and rebuild my home, I did not gut rehab, MY property did not increase in value because of improvements I made, so why am I being assessed higher because of the new home, the rehab, the tear-down or the McMansion on my block?

Acquisition Based Assessing controls the rate of assessment increase based on purchase price. It is predictable, and is fair to the homeowner based on affordability (what you pay for your home).

When the property is resold, a reassessment is made on the new purchase price - and the new owner knows what to expect in their property taxes.

Assess properties on purchase price, not exploding markets.

At June 3, 2006 at 7:55 AM, Blogger TRAC said...

John, John, John, as Reagen once said - there you go again!
The red herring in this property tax discussion is "education."
My assessments have not gone up over 400% since 1993 because of how we fund schools.
Illinois assessment increases are based on an average of sale prices that are applied to all like properties in an area. Owners are being taxed on future capital gains that are determind by someone else selling - not the actions of the current owner.

The idea of tying education funding to reforming the property tax system is a PR move to bully people into supporting a huge hike in the income tax - the tax swap.

The bill that has been going around that will certainly be brought back to life - the tax swap or SB750 has some interesting points. The income tax increase from 3%, the current figure, to 5%, which is the proposed, is a whopping 67% increase. The advocates tell us that there will be a 20% reduction in our property taxes - this applies to ONLY the school funding portion of our tax bill - not the whole bill.Do the math - it is a 10% reduction in the total bill.
They also propose taxing more things like certain services to raise even more money. The total projected amount of money raised in this swap is 7 billion. And how much goes to education? You'd think all right? Not! 1.6 billion of the 7 billion will go to education. What is that about 3%?

There is nothing on this tax swap table that prevents the assessments from continuing to climb while we get a 67% income tax hike.
We need to change the fundamentals.
The assessment of value should be tied to the actual sale of a property. Assessments on properties that have not sold should be held to an increase of 2% a year. It is fair and predictable. This should apply to all properties.

We need to change the way we assess the value of properties. Assess on sale...Acquistion Based Assessing. You want more money for schools? That is a separate issue.

At June 4, 2006 at 9:47 PM, Blogger Keane4292 said...

This is a reason why families are moving out of the city and willing to make the killer commute to work. I live in St. Charles and the tax/school quality ratio is very high. The schools are worth the tax rate we deal with every day. When all the cards are on the table the quicker we, together, figure out a way to bring the quality of the schools up and taxes at a reasonable level. The better off the schools and the citizens of Chicago.

At June 6, 2006 at 4:13 PM, Anonymous Wistful Vista said...

Once again, John, Education Costs outstrip Education Value and will as long as the Public schools have a monopoly of taxpayer paid education.

For a solution, look at San Francisco, look at Edmonton, Canada. See the article in Reason Magazine, April 2006. Yes, I know that Libertarians can't be trusted. :-)}. But neither can the consortium of IFT and the supposed school regulators and standards enforcers at ISBE.

Competitive Choice is the only hope. Vest the students with weighted education fund moneys (the San Francisco formula will do). Allow the parents to send them to any accreedited school.

Its full affect will not be seen for two generations at least. when the early generations finished their warehousing period and left, underqualified for most jobs, and unmotivated (with exceptions) by interclass mobility.

Throwing more money to reward underqualified teachers without subject matter mastery does not cut the mustard, John.

It is time for the legislators to stand up to the IFT, instead of tugging on their forelocks and reaching out with palms upright.

At June 8, 2006 at 7:03 AM, Anonymous SchoolBoardMember said...

Explain what EDUCATION VALUE is to the class. Please be specific and use fact not poltical theory.

At July 4, 2006 at 10:42 PM, Blogger leo said...

"The idea of tying education funding to reforming the property tax system is a PR move to bully people into supporting a huge hike in the income tax - the tax swap."

Actually this makes sense! We got to get back to taxing people on their actual ability to pay!

Anyone who complains about the Property Tax without talking about how low the Income Tax in Illinois is isn't really coming up with a solution.

I mean, we're not going to start closing down our schools, so the only alternative is to reform the method of taxation.


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