Monday, October 02, 2006

Must be Nice

In the No Wonder the Governor's in no Hurry to Help Us with the Bill Dept.:

Eric Krol follows up on a story about the Governor's flat-lined property tax reassessment that I had first read about in a Sunday column by Kristen McQuery. I'll just give you a snippet of the Daily Herald article, but you should check out both pieces:

On a square-foot basis, his home is assessed well below others of its class in his neighborhood.

The governor’s 0.98 percent assessment increase in what’s been a hot Chicago real estate market left one government watchdog group scratching its head.

Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association and a Northwest Side resident, stopped short of saying the governor had received a special break on his taxes, but he did say Blagojevich may be “the luckiest property owner on the Northwest Side.”

“I can tell you from personal experience that people in that neighborhood would die for a 1 percent assessment increase,” Stewart said.

The Governor lives in the north end of my district, about 3 miles away from me. And I can tell you that I don't know of ONE person between my house and his that wouldn't give a limb for a 1% increase in their assessment. My constituents (and I) are getting pounded by property taxes, and we are getting no help from the Governor's office in trying to find a solution to this issue.

And don't get me started on today's Tribune editorial, which simplifies the issue to the point of irrelevance.

It's safe to say that the collective absence of will to fix how we fund schools and assess properties has been one of the most disillusioning aspects of my tenure in the House.


At October 2, 2006 at 11:51 AM, Anonymous Barb Head said...

Yet again the Tribune editorial board is sitting on the laps of Madigan and Roper (Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce) while these two pull the strings of this puppet editorial board!

They can't even get their facts straight let alone their "opinions." For them to make reference to the 7% without talking about how Madigan changed it with a "cap on the cap" is misleading at best and down right deceitful. It greatly limited the relief that homeowners received.

And now with many areas in the city getting huge increases - like the Grand Boulevard area around 4500 S. Michigan Ave which will see 90% and above - if this 7% is not renewed how much more in real dollars will this area have to cough up? And this community's State Rep. Ken Dunkin, voted not to support the renewal. What line of ______was he fed by Madigan? That his constituents wouldn't benefit from it? What is Dunkin going to tell them now when they are faced with increases of 90% or more?

Of course the irony is that while Madigan got a bunch of Chicago Democrats to change their votes from the last time it passed to no support this time- they did the heavey lifting for the "Speaker" - Madigan voted "yes" on the 7% so HIS constituents would think he was a great guy!

Playing politics with people's homes is no way to run a government. Madigan has become the democrats Pate Phillips! Maybe we should let him know - Madigan - that if he continues to block the passage of the 7% we will block his daughter Lisa Madigan from running for anything higher - like governor!

Maybe it is time to play his kind of game - hardball.

At October 2, 2006 at 2:22 PM, Anonymous silentk said...

Only because it will probably not be printed, here's a letter to the Chicago Tribune:

Dear Editor,

Your editorial “Tax Roulette” (Chicago Tribune, October 22, 2006) has taken a highly complex issue and distilled it to a “winners and losers” marketing strategy: you win if you save your home with the 7% and lose if you pay a dollar more.

The 7% property tax cap is intended to protect homeowners from escalating assessments that hit now, and in the future. If you didn’t save on this triennial because your area wasn’t hit hard today – you will in the future if your neighborhood falls way to gentrification and skyrocketing values.

The UIC study, in which you cite, takes only a one-year snapshot on the effects of this bill and does not look at the long-term results.

We have always subsidized programs which offer protection by increasing the tax base through slightly higher taxes. We support our senior citizens by subsidizing the Senior exemptions and Senior freezes; we support tax breaks for corporations with TIFs and incentives; we take on more and more of the tax burden from businesses by shifting it to the homeowner. Why cry foul now, when the protection is offered to homeowners slammed by skyrocketing assessments?

The 7% assessment cap is intended as a stop-gap, while real reform and a fairer system is worked out. To not extend the cap without replacing it with a viable alternative will produce far more losers.

At October 2, 2006 at 10:05 PM, Blogger respectful said...

Let's apply the same Trib/UIC analysis to TIFs. Chicago has 140+ TIFs. Those result in other property owners paying higher taxes for at least 23 years than they would in the absence of a TIF in the Central Loop, for example.

Or apply it to increases in the income cutoff for the senior freeze. Renters and homeowners of modest income who are under 65 pay higher taxes because more seniors qualify for the freeze.

The fact that the Trib owns business property that pays slightly more because of the 7% cap might have something to do with the paper's editorial position on the issue.

Duncan can tell his homeowners the same thing he told his House colleagues when they voted down his bill with over 100 No votes.

At October 3, 2006 at 10:20 AM, Blogger Randall Sherman said...

Of course, if the Governor suffers the same fate as the last "Public Official A" cited by the feds (that would have been George Ryan), I suspect the value (and thus the property tax owed) of the Blagojevich home may take a tumble. So it may just be that the Assessor's office is either psychic or a tad premature with its figures here.


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