AFSCME puts $100K into campaign guaranteeing $2,100 property tax hike

Mailee Smith

Senior Director of Labor Policy and Staff Attorney

Mailee Smith
July 7, 2022

AFSCME puts $100K into campaign guaranteeing $2,100 property tax hike

Illinois’ largest state worker union has a long history of demanding higher taxes. Now AFSCME is funding a state constitutional amendment campaign that will hike property taxes statewide.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – the largest state worker union in Illinois – is funding a campaign that would guarantee a $2,100 property tax increase for homeowners if passed.

Records with the Illinois State Board of Elections show AFSCME has given at least $100,000 to the campaign supporting Amendment 1, which will be on the ballot Nov. 8.

Misleadingly framed as a “workers’ rights amendment,” Amendment 1 would prevent commonsense reforms to reduce homeowners’ tax burdens while giving government union leaders virtually limitless new ways to demand higher costs from taxpayers.

If it passes, Illinois’ trend of large annual property tax increases will likely grow faster than ever. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has failed to deliver on promised property tax relief during his term – the average family paid $1,913 more during his administration.

Plus, Amendment 1 would guarantee that family pays at least $2,149 in higher property tax bills during the next four years, no matter which politicians win this November or how well they try to follow through on any campaign promises to ease Illinoisans’ tax burdens.

This is a conservative estimate, assuming the rapid growth of Illinois’ property tax burden holds steady. It’s likely property taxes would grow at an even faster rate, because Amendment 1 would give Illinois government unions unprecedented bargaining powers that don’t exist in any other state. Exactly how much faster is an open question.

Advocating for higher taxes isn’t new for AFSCME.

AFSCME was one of many unions that backed doubling the gas tax on Illinoisans.

During contract negotiations with then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, AFSCME demanded the state raise taxes in order to meet the union’s costly demands. Negotiations reached an impasse and AFSCME refused to agree on a contract during Rauner’s term. Shortly after Gov. J.B. Pritzker took office, he signed a deal with AFSCME costing taxpayers $3.6 billion more than it needed to.

Amendment 1 would only serve to make the tax burden on Illinoisans even harder to bear.

The amendment includes multiple provisions that would hand control of the state over to unelected government union leaders. It would allow those union leaders to demand virtually anything in negotiations, maintain a permanent right to strike to get those demands met, and even allow unions to void state laws they don’t like by writing contrary provisions into union contracts.

In fact, it would give union bosses the most extreme powers in the nation.

Illinois’ property taxes are already the second-highest in the nation and a major reason taxpayers are fleeing to lower-tax states.

If Illinoisans are to have any hope of property tax relief, Amendment 1 must be rejected. If it passes, property tax pain in Illinois will likely grow even farther beyond acceptable levels.

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