Debate fact check: Property taxes haven’t gone down under Pritzker

Debate fact check: Property taxes haven’t gone down under Pritzker

Gov. J.B. Pritzker took the debate stage claiming property taxes in Illinois have gone down thanks to his administration. In truth, the average Illinois family is paying over $2,000 more in property taxes than before he took office.

In a televised candidate debate Oct. 6, Gov. J.B. Pritzker boasted about his record on the state’s economy and claimed his policy decisions have led to reduced property taxes.

“I consolidated police and fire pensions across the state and that is allowing property taxes to go down by billions of dollars,” he said.

The truth is property taxes have gone up since Pritzker took office. His idea of “relief” is a one-time property tax rebate of $300 at the most. After the median rebate check of $279, Illinoisans still pay a net $2,009 more in property taxes than before Pritzker took office.

What will happen to taxes if Pritzker is elected to a second term? When asked if he would pledge to not raise taxes if reelected, Pritzker evaded the question and talked about previous budgets.

Property taxes in Illinois have ballooned to the second-highest in the nation because of rising pension debt, which Pritzker also suggested his budgets solved.

“Now, I’ve also reduced the net pension liability while I’ve been [in] office, not only because we made good investments but because we put more into the pension system than ever before,” he said.

It’s true that Illinois pension spending is at an all-time high, consuming over 25% of the state budget. But the difference between what is in the pension systems and what has been promised state retirees, known as pension debt, is still the highest in the nation. Moody’s Investors Service estimates Illinois’ pension debt at $313 billion.

Pritzker trusts Moody’s as a reputable source when it comes to the state’s credit rating upgrades, but refuses to acknowledge its pension debt estimates. Still, even after six upgrades, Illinois’ credit rating is the lowest in the nation.

Property taxes have increased over $2,000 during Pritzker’s term, and are on pace to rise by $2,149 for the typical homeowner during the next four years. The proposed Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment at the top of the Nov. 8 ballot, would likely accelerate those tax hikes by empowering government union bosses to make greater demands. Taxpayers would be forced to fund those demands.

The Nov. 8 election is not just a referendum on the next governor and the Illinois economy, but also on government union power and property taxes.

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