Illinois Supreme Court: Votes count on ‘Bring Chicago Home’ referendum

Illinois Supreme Court: Votes count on ‘Bring Chicago Home’ referendum

The Illinois Supreme Court rejected a petition to invalidate votes on the “Bring Chicago Home” referendum. Voting ends March 19.

The Illinois Supreme Court reaffirmed a decision from an appellate court that votes will count on Mayor Brandon Johnson’s real estate transfer tax hike, known as “Bring Chicago Home.”

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago petitioned the justices to overturn the appellate decision to no avail.

“This backdoor property tax hike would hurt our downtown and local neighborhoods alike, impacting homeowners, renters, union workers, and business owners large and small,”  association  Executive Director Farzin Parang said. “What is especially troubling is that Mayor Johnson’s transfer tax hike would give the city a blank check with no accountability for improving our housing and migrant shelter crises.”

Cook County Judge Katheen Burke originally ruled the question on the March 19 ballot unconstitutional and invalid, but appellate justices said she was wrong to rule on a referendum that was a step in the legislative process.

The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the appellate decision March 13 without offering a reason for the decision.

What does the plan do to Chicago’s real-estate transfer tax?

Chicago now charges 0.75% on the sale of all property. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and advocates want that changed to three rates. The plan:

  • Lowers the tax to 0.60% for properties worth less than $1 million, a 20% decrease.
  • Raises it to 2% for properties worth $1 million-$1.5 million, a 166% increase.
  • Raises it to 3% if worth more than $1.5 million, a 300% increase.

The tax will disproportionately hit commercial properties, with 5,142 facing Johnson’s higher tax if approved in a city with the nation’s second-highest commercial property taxes. Neither Johnson nor the ballot question guarantee the money will be used for homeless relief, and the Chicago Teachers Union has already demanded taxpayers subsidize housing for teachers averaging nearly $100,000.

Early voting in Chicago is underway for the March 19 primary. Click here to check your voter registration information.

Click here to read more about the transfer tax hike.

Paid for by Vote No on Chicago Real Estate Tax

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