Monday, March 13, 2006

Tax cap backed so people can keep homes

Tax cap backed so people can keep homes:

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter

Chicago homeowners were warned Thursday to brace for a 41 percent increase in property tax assessments -- and the tax hike that comes with it -- unless the Illinois House renews a 7 percent cap on annual assessment increases.

'A home assessed at $150,000 in 2002 had a $4,052 tax bill that year. If the [cap] passes, the tax bill will drop to $3,997 next year. If the bill doesn't pass, the tax bill will rise to $5,465. That is almost a swing of $1,500,' Mayor Daley said.

Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan called renewal of the 7 percent cap 'essential' to prevent Chicagoans from being 'driven from their homes' and spare them the 'sticker shock' of a three-year reassessment.

'Think of this. Over 80 percent of the homeowners in Chicago received tax bills that were lower than prior to the [last] reassessment. That same model will be true for this reassessment,' Houlihan said.

'The 7 percent homeowners exemption worked. It helped homeowners... . No school received less money from local property taxes. And in Chicago, the impact on commercial property owners was merely 1 percent.'"


The Illinois Senate voted last week to extend the 7 percent cap for three more years and raise the maximum exemption from $20,000 of equalized assessed valuation to $60,000.

The cap was imposed in 2004 to quell a property tax revolt triggered by skyrocketing assessments in 2003, the last time the city was reassessed.

At that time, the median residential increase for all eight Chicago townships was 35 percent. This time, "These notices will show that the taxable value of the average home has increased 41 percent over the last three years --and some will increase 90 percent or more," Daley said.

Reassessment notices will be mailed in a few weeks.

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