“Personally, my family had to downsize last year because I didn’t want to get in a situation where our property taxes reached an unsustainable level and would consume too large a percent of our income.”

“When my wife and I had kids, we moved out of Chicago for better schools and found
La Grange. It’s just a beautiful area.”

“When we bought in 1999, my property taxes were reasonable, at roughly $3,500 for a $290,000 house. If we hadn’t downsized this year, they would have easily been $15,000.”

“I would try to appeal it every time they reassessed, but it became tiring to keep trying to fight it. Then, really, all I’m doing is pushing the taxes on someone else, because somebody else has to pay.”

“We moved into a smaller ranch in La Grange Park, still close to our friends and family, and we were able to cut our taxes in half, essentially. But they are still incredibly high compared to other states. I have family in Arizona, Florida and Tennessee and the taxes are incredibly low there. I don’t think any other places are like this, except maybe New York and New Jersey.”

“I became frustrated with my property taxes rising so much all the time. I started doing
research, trying to understand why they are going up this ridiculous amount every year, and I came to the realization that it’s the pension crisis. Local and state pensions are driving property taxes to rise rapidly, and at the same time, crowding out other services.”

“The benefits some public sector employees receive are shocking, and it makes people such as myself a bit angry. Some of these state and city pension plans allow people to retire on 75% of their income after 30 years. Then they have ‘kickers,’ where some public sector employees can even turn in sick days or unused vacation time to receive additional benefits. Public pensioners also receive mandated yearly 3% ‘raises.’ They are called ‘cost of living adjustments,’ but I consider them ‘raises.’”

“Nowhere in the private sector can you receive a retirement package where you are able to retire on 75% of your income at the end of a 30-year career and then get a 3% wage increase every year for life, guaranteed. It’s just crazy.”

“I have tried to do the math on what it would take to earn similar benefits in the private sector, and not counting the health care benefits, private sector employees would need to save more than 50% of their salary and then put it aside into a fund that performed well in order to get that kind of a benefit after 30 years.”

“I believe most public sector workers think they’re funding their retirement, but they’re not even coming close to fully funding them with the little contributions that they make compared to the payouts they receive.”

“I would think it would motivate people in the private sector to vote in change because there’s still more private-sector employees than public-sector employees in Illinois. It should be easy to change the Illinois Constitution and implement financial reforms, both to protect public sector employees, as well as the private sector.”

“Without changing the current system, we will continue to drive people out of Illinois and stifle economic growth. In addition, this crisis continues to pull money away from both social services and schools, which disproportionately hurts the lower-income parts of Chicago and the state.”

“It’s a shame because Illinois is such a great state. It has beautiful communities and a beautiful lakefront. There are so many things going for it.”

“I believe our government and public sector unions do not want to see benefits in the public pension system diminished and therefore they are forced to support the ever-increasing taxes and state borrowing programs. And as the private-sector taxpayers, we’re basically stuck trying to save for our own retirements while also being forced to finance the generous public-sector retirements.”

“Moving out of Illinois makes the equation much easier, but it means leaving family and friends. That’s the sad truth of it.”

Al Marogil
La Grange Park, Illinois