Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.

Assessment down? Don’t get hopes up

Sunday, July 19, 2009
Chicago Tribune
by Bob Secter

Thanks to the recession and the housing crisis, homeowners across Cook County have begun receiving unusual notices in the mail from County Assessor James Houlihan:  Assessments are going down for the first time in recent memory.  That may seem like a glimmer of good news in a gloomy economic climate, but the Cook County property tax system is so convoluted that it might be easier to grasp quantum physics than project the impact of assessment changes.  Here’s a primer on what it might mean for you:


Q:        Yippee!  My assessment is dropping 5 percent.  Can I now afford that exotic South Seas vacation?

A:        Don’t pack your bags yet.  The assessment reductions will have no impact on the next two rounds of property tax bills to be mailed out this fall and early next year.  The revisions won’t be factored into tax bills until late 2010.


Q:        And then I can start to splurge?

A:        Hard to say, but probably not.  Assessments are but one of several factors that determine your tax bill.  The most important is called the levy, which is essentially the total of all the property tax revenue that a governmental body hopes to raise through the property tax in a given year.  Levies defy gravity.  The virtually never go down and usually go up. So even if your assessment drops, your tax bill could grow.


Q:        So why all the fuss about assessments?

A:        They still matter.  If the assessment on your house is bigger than your neighbor’s, then your bill will be bigger as well.  In a similar vein, if assessments on industrial and commercial property stay the same while those for residential property go down, then the overall property tax burden gets shifted slightly away toward business.  The emphasis here, however, is on the word, “slightly,” and it’s important to remember that when home values were going gangbusters the shift was in the opposite direction.


Q:        What about that state law that let Cook County cap soaring assessments a few years ago?

A:        Depending on how hot the real estate market once was in your neighborhood, it may have prevented your tax bill from soaring into the stratosphere.  Problem is, the caps were temporary and they are now being phased out.  So you could get an assessment cut this year and still be hit with a big assessment increase net year simply because the artificial caps are going away.  We told you this is complicated.


Q:        After all this, whom do I blame if my tax bill still goes up?

A:        It’s always easy to criticize politicians, but if you want to single out a class of culprits, blame your kids.  Seriously.  Property taxes pay for a range of public functions, from Cook county government to forest preserves, parks, libraries, village halls and much more.  By far, however, the biggest slice of your property tax bill goes to bankroll public schools.  In Chicago, 60 percent of property tax revenue is funneled to schools.  In the suburbs, the figure averages 68 percent.  As much as voters complain about high taxes, few are willing to cut funding for their local schools.


Recent Headlines

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

Judge: State constitution doesn't force Cook County to spend $250M more on roads, transport projects
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Cook County Rrecord

City Club of Chicago: Cook County Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Monocchio
Thursday, February 28, 2019
WGN Chicago

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.