Fact check: Typical Illinoisan pays $2,288 more in property taxes under Pritzker
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s claim a rebate provides property tax relief doesn’t add up. Even after the rebate, homeowners will still have paid over $2,000 more in property taxes under Pritzker.
A campaign ad for Gov. J.B. Pritzker claims the so-called Family Relief Plan in his newest budget means “lower property taxes” thanks to a rebate, but the ad fails to mention the other $2,000 in added property taxes the average Illinoisans has paid since Pritzker took office.
Despite Illinoisans paying the second-highest property taxes in the nation, Pritzker has been touting the “tax relief” his plan provides, including the provision granting qualifying homeowners a property tax rebate up to a maximum of $300. The median rebate will be $279.
The problem is the median Illinois homeowner has paid $2,288 more in property taxes during Pritzker’s term. That means the typical homeowner will have paid $2,009 more in property taxes under Pritzker even after receiving the temporary rebate.
The ad goes on to say, “J.B. doubled the [property] tax rebate for everyone.” This claim is simply not true. While Illinois homeowners are eligible for the Illinois Property Tax Credit, which is equal to 5% of the property tax bill on their primary residence, this tax credit has no cap. For nearly half of Illinois taxpayers, this credit is worth more than $300 meaning they didn’t see their rebate doubled. The tax credit is also available annually when Illinoisans file state income taxes, while Pritzker’s tax rebate will only be issued once - during an election year.
Pritzker’s lip service to property tax relief should come as no surprise to Illinoisans. In 2019 the governor pushed for the creation of the Illinois Property Tax Relief Task Force to address political concerns a switch to a progressive income tax would do nothing to address the state’s high property tax burden. Ultimately, the task force never issued a final report or any recommendations to lower property taxes.
Pritzker has since signed no legislation that would help local governments structurally reform their biggest cost drivers or place limits on property tax increases. Local pension debt across Illinois communities amounts to $75 billion, pushing property taxes higher to pay for overpromised benefits. There have been no attempts under Pritzker’s leadership to significantly reform the state’s broken pension system.
The failure of Pritzker’s task force to even issue a final report with recommendations to lower property taxes should give every Illinoisan pause over his adamant support for Amendment 1. Amendment 1, dubiously dubbed a “workers’ rights amendment” by proponents, would virtually guarantee a property tax hike of at least $2,149 during the next four years.
This is likely a conservative estimate, assuming the growth of Illinois’ property tax burden holds steady. Illinoisans can expect 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.
With Illinoisans already paying the second-highest property taxes in the nation, Amendment 1 threatens to make that burden even worse. Coupled with rising property taxes under Pritzker and his do-nothing task force, Illinoisans cannot afford to grant even more power to public sector unions.
Pritzker’s reelection ads have been misleading voters about his record on taxes by claiming he is “helping us pay less for the things we buy every day.” Despite claiming he has helped Illinoisans pay less in gas taxes, he doubled the gas tax and Illinois went from having the 10th-highest gas taxes to the second-highest in the nation. His ad also claims he “eliminated” the state’s 1% grocery tax, but the tax was only temporarily suspended until July 2023 – just in time to provide revenue for the state’s next budget.
The misleading claims Pritzker and his campaign are making are misdirects used to hide his true fiscal record. With costs increasing for gas, groceries and housing since Pritzker took office, Pritzker has offered no real relief. In fact, his 24 hikes to taxes and fees have cost Illinoisans over $5 billion during his term.
Instead of relying on Pritzker and his allies to deliver cost-savings, Illinoisans will have an opportunity to effectively vote against a guaranteed property tax increase in the form of Amendment 1 to grant themselves tax relief in November.