‘Home Alone’ with a $38,500 property tax bill
As pension costs explode for Winnetka and the rest of Illinois, owners of the “Home Alone” house featured in the 1990 film are feeling the effects.
Macaulay Culkin became famous for his scream in “Home Alone,” but legend has it directors got that reaction by showing him the property tax bill for the movie’s Winnetka house.
The owners of 671 Lincoln Ave. in Winnetka, Illinois – a home featured in the 1990 film “Home Alone” – will pay $38,564 in property taxes for 2018. Since 1990, owners of the home have paid more than $850,000 in property taxes in total.
The climb each year was steady through the 90s, then spiked heavily to more than $30,000 in 2007 from just over $24,000 in 2006. The jump to 2018 from 2017 was another big increase, of about $3,000. The house sold for more than $1.5 million in 2012.
While the “Home Alone” house might draw more attention than its neighbors, it certainly wasn’t the only home in Cook County taxed heavier in 2018. A report this summer from the Cook County clerk’s office said the owner of an average single-family home in Chicago would see a $110 increase this year, and homeowners in the city’s south suburbs would see an increase of $247. The increases have given Cook County one of the highest property tax rates in the state, with the collar counties also high on the list.
It won’t be coming this Christmas, but the perfect present for any of these homeowners would be significant property tax relief.
If Cook and collar county homeowners are going to see any sort of property tax relief, it will need to start with pension reform. Since the “Home Alone” movie came out in 1990 – and the home’s owners have had to pay more than half of its value in property taxes – Winnetka employees enrolled in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund have accumulated $55.6 million in pension benefits. It’s an unaffordable cost, and one that’s felt each year in property tax bills. An amendmentto the state constitution’s pension clause to allow for changes to future, unearned benefits is necessary if the state is ever going to get serious about property tax reform.
Until then, moving new government workers into 401(k)-style plansis a change that could be made right away to alleviate the growth in future retirement costs. If lawmakers don’t pursue policies like this, though, homeowners – even if they have a famous roof over their heads – will only see their bills rise.