Metro East property tax bills making their way to mailboxes

Metro East property tax bills making their way to mailboxes

Residents of St. Clair and Madison Counties will soon see some of the nation’s most punishing property tax bills.

Property owners in Belleville, Alton and other Metro East communities will be rudely reminded of their tax burdens in the coming days, as county treasurers send out property tax bills for St. Clair and Madison counties.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the St. Clair County treasurer’s office will conclude its mailing by May 19, while the Madison County treasurer will begin sending property tax bills after Memorial Day.

Both Madison and St. Clair taxpayers paid a higher effective tax rate than the national average in 2017, a year which also saw continued outmigration from the region.

St. Clair County homeowners paid an effective property tax rate of 2.40 percent, while Madison County taxpayers paid an effective rate of 2.05 percent, according to an April study from ATTOM Data Solutions. The national average was 1.17 percent for 2017, with Illinois’ statewide average coming in at 2.22 percent.

Those burdens show few signs of easing anytime soon.

In April 2017, the St. Clair County board hiked property taxes. And the city of Belleville increased its property tax levy 12 percent in December 2017, citing shortfalls in its police and fire pension funds.

Unfortunately, state mandates have given local leaders across Illinois few choices but to cut core services or hike taxes. Those cost drivers include inflated wages on public construction projects, costly pension benefits and overly generous bargaining powers for government worker unions.

As bills arrive, Metro East homeowners will bear witness to the consequences of those policies.

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