Home values are down, but property taxes are going up - KMSP-TV

Home values are down, but property taxes are going up

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

People who own property in Cook County are about to get their tax bills. Assessed values are way down, but our bills will not be.

In residential neighborhoods in the city, assessed values -- technically called equalized assessed values -- are 14 to 20 percent lower than last year, but most bills are expected to be the same amount as last year, or only slightly lower.

People in and around The Loop -- mostly the owners of business properties -- are being hit harder. Their assessed values went down by 7.5 percent. It's a significant drop, but not compared to the neighborhoods.

So that means downtown property owners will shoulder a bigger share of the overall tax burden. Their upcoming tax bills will be higher than last year.

Assessed values in the Cook County suburbs decreased 7 to 9 percent, but property tax bills here will rise by an average of 3 percent.

The reason for all this is that government spending keeps rising. Chicago is seeking 2 percent more tax revenue than last year. Tax levies countywide are up a bit more: 2.2 percent.

Of course people want lower taxes, but they also want good schools, their garbage picked up, and the police and fire departments to show up when needed. Those things all cost money.

So what can be done? The head of a Chicago group that's pushing for reform says the costs of providing government services need to be reduced.

"The pressures on government at the local level as well as the state level is the drivers of spending, which is public employee compensation; wages, benefits and pensions," John Tillman says. "Until they reform those drivers of their spending we're never gonna see this problem get fixed."

A tax advisory firm we spoke with said some people, and especially businesses, are going to have sticker shock when they see their tax bills. If so, watch to see if it affects debate over pension reform in Springfield.

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