Fact check: Homeowners worse off under Pritzker

Fact check: Homeowners worse off under Pritzker

Gov. J.B. Pritzker stressed the importance of homeownership in Illinois. Under his administration, homeowners have seen their property taxes grow by $2,288.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker celebrated his administration for renewing a program to help homeowners in low-income communities that pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation.

Opening Doors, offered through the Illinois Housing Development Authority, grants new and previous homeowners $6,000 of their down payment or closing cost.

The program will distribute $10 million in funds to roughly 1,600 buyers. Pritzker tweeted about the renewal, highlighting Illinoisans struggling to buy a home.

“Because no family in Illinois should have to worry about putting a roof over their heads,” Pritzker tweeted.

Illinois families worry about just that. Illinoisans pay the second-highest property taxes in the nation, penalizing homeowners simply because of the state they live in. They also pay double the national average. The typical homeowner’s property taxes have gone up by $2,288 since Pritzker took office.

Pritzker has been seeking reelection by taking credit for a rebate that still means homeowners are over $2,000 worse off than before he took office. He failed to deliver on the promise from his first run for governor to reduce property taxes, and the task force he formed to study solutions never issued a report.

Pritzker has done nothing to address the underlying cause of Illinois’ property tax growth: pension debt. Higher property taxes from pensions make homeownership less attainable, especially for low-income communities.

Chicago, for instance, holds $47 billion in pension debt, more than 45 states. To make up for the cost, homeowners foot the bill through property taxes. Chicago’s latest property tax hike of $42.7 million will only go to pensions, not improved services for residents.

Opening Doors is intended to help families struggling to attain homeownership, but only pension reform can bring lasting relief. State assistance is a temporary solution to a permanent problem.

More property tax pain is ahead if voters Nov. 8 approve Amendment 1, the first item they will see on the ballot. It would lock Illinois’ property tax pain into the state constitution, hiking property taxes by at least $2,100 during the next four years by granting government union bosses greater ability to make demands.

Homeownership is attainable, but some families will find their affordable housing in another state if Illinois can’t get property taxes under control.

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