New bill promises up to 50% property tax relief for Illinoisans

New bill promises up to 50% property tax relief for Illinoisans

The bill introduced by state Rep. Tim Ozinga would redirect savings from shrinking pension payments to support local school districts and reduce Illinois’ second-in-the -nation property taxes. Some districts could see their tax bills cut in half.

A newly proposed bill could help provide Illinoisans with up to 50% property tax relief by redirecting savings in the state budget to support local school districts.

House Bill 4866, introduced by state Rep. Tim Ozinga, R-Mokena, would reallocate savings from reduced pension payments in the state budget to school districts to bring down local property taxes.

“This legislation would create the education property tax relief fund,” Ozinga said during a press conference Feb. 7. “This fund would be established by the Illinois State Board of Education and would award property relief grants to qualifying school districts in the state, which is so desperately needed.”

“Relief grants would be allocated on a per pupil basis and the property tax levy would be required to be reduced by the same amount as the grants given by the state once fully implemented.”

Illinoisans currently pay the second-highest property taxes in the nation with nearly two-thirds of every dollar going to local school districts. Ozinga predicts “some districts would see up to a 50% decrease in their property tax levy.”

Proponents of the bill argue now is the time to pass property tax relief as the Gov. Jim Edgar-era “pension ramp” winds down and savings from Tier 2 pension reforms and buyouts shrink public retirement payments as a portion of the state budget.

Some Democrats in the Statehouse predicted the bill will be “dead on arrival.” They claimed there are too many spending pressures for lawmakers to be giving “rich suburban districts” more money at this time.

Ozinga believes the bill will garner bipartisan support and ultimately reduce inequality between Illinois’ affluent and struggling communities. He said Illinois currently ranks worst in the nation for racial financial inequality.

“The leaders of our state have continued to put Band-Aids on problems while not addressing the cancerous condition that is the root cause of all this inequity,” Ozinga said. “These communities don’t need more government bureaucracy. They need hope.”

Illinois lawmakers returned to Springfield to start the spring session Jan. 16. They are scheduled to remain in the capitol until May 24.   

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