Up 40% or down 40%, Chicago property taxes all over the map

Up 40% or down 40%, Chicago property taxes all over the map

Chicago’s residential property taxes between 2020 and 2021 were pretty volatile. Don’t be happy about a big drop, though, because it might mean your home isn’t worth as much.

Good news: Cook County property taxes are not due Aug. 1. Bad news: They are due just before Christmas.

Good news: Your neighborhood’s property taxes dropped 40.7% in a year. Bad news: Your home’s value likely dropped, too.

Good news: Your home’s assessed value somehow skyrocketed by 62.6% in one year. Bad news: Your property taxes went up by 44.7%.

More than 30 Chicago neighborhoods saw their total tax burden increase by at least 10%, just from 2020 to 2021. The most extreme was the Lower West Side neighborhood, where total taxes went up 44.7%. The tax burden in these areas is becoming increasingly unbearable.

A dozen areas saw double-digit decreases in total tax because their property values plummeted. Undesirable things, including rising crime, caused that.

Chicago had 23 neighborhoods where median residential property taxes dropped, with Greater Grand Crossing seeing an $876 savings. Again, that likely is a negative for home values.

Taxes are paid the year after the tax year, so 2021 taxes were paid in 2022.

During his campaign, Mayor Brandon Johnson promised not to raise property taxes. He will face pressure to break that promise to try to address some of the city’s financial woes, but high taxes are already causing people to leave. Chicago lost 33,000 residents in 2022.

Rather than raising already-high property taxes, Johnson should push the solution his two predecessors both embraced late in their terms: pension reform. Chicago has $48 billion in public pension debt – more than 44 states. Getting state lawmakers to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot allowing for changes to future benefit growth is much less painful that letting the systems crash. Illinois voters support pension reform 3-1 over more hikes and service cuts.

Stopping municipal pensions from continuing to eat property taxes will help the city again invest in public services and help Johnson keep his promise.

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