Study: Illinoisans’ property tax burden second highest in the nation

Study: Illinoisans’ property tax burden second highest in the nation

High property tax bills are squeezing family budgets across Illinois.

For Illinoisans, it can seem as though the only thing growing faster than property taxes is the mound of discouraging analyses underscoring the weight of their tax burden.

In a ranking of the property tax burden in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, finance website WalletHub placed the Land of Lincoln at 50 out of 51, behind only New Jersey.

However, many Illinoisans don’t need to be persuaded that the property tax burden they’ve been toiling under has swelled beyond reason. Outmigration data make clear that Illinoisans have been conducting their own state-by-state comparisons. And too often, the conclusions they’ve arrived at have been drawn with skid marks, as they race across state lines.

Illinois’ unwelcome property tax climate has been years in the making. For too long, efforts to paper over fiscal woes have been tackled by continually upping the ante on property taxes – absent consideration for what taxpayers can afford. From 2008-2015, average property taxes paid grew six times faster than household incomes.

According to WalletHub’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, the head of an Illinois household with a home listed at the state’s median value, or $174,800, pays an annual effective rate of 2.32 percent. In other words, this household can expect to shell out $4,058 in property taxes each year. Only New Jersey’s effective tax rate of 2.4 percent ranked higher than Illinois’.

While Illinoisans have come to expect property taxes to climb, trends in home prices have proven less reliable. Government data suggest home prices in Illinois are still down 10 percent compared with 2006, while over the same time, property tax bills have gone up more than 51 percent.

Research suggests these growing property tax bills, coupled with discouraging outmigration patterns, threaten to put downward pressure on home prices.

Until lawmakers address the causes driving up the price tag on basic governance, homeowners should not expect their property tax bills to drop.

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