Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Cook leaders want property tax exemption crackdown law

Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by John Byrne

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkleand Assessor Joe Berrios on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to give them more power to go after property owners who improperly claim tax breaks, saying they could recover more than $150 million in three years with the new authority.

Under legislation pending in Springfield, counties could go after back taxes from people who have wrongly received homestead exemptions. The tax break should only be applied to a property owner's primary residence, but people often also claim it for rental properties, vacation homes and secondary residences. Other property owners get inappropriate property tax reductions for being a senior citizen, disabled person or disabled veteran.

People who claimed multiple improper homestead exemptions also would be fined a percentage of their unpaid taxes, and the county could place liens on the properties to try to compel property owners to pay up.

A similar measure stalled in Springfield last year, which Berrios blamed on pressure from real estate agents and landlords who oppose the plan. The assessor also said the previous version of the bill got weighed down by unrelated proposals that got attached to it during the legislative process.

“This bill is a stand-alone,” Berrios said at a news conference, explaining why he's optimistic the new version will pass.

Based on the number of exemption cheats he said he has found to date, Berrios estimated $154 million would be returned to the county, school districts and the like during the first three years the plan was in effect.

Last October, the Tribune found numerous examples of public officials collecting improper homestead exemptions. And they were just a few examples among thousands of taxpayers who have benefited — intentionally or otherwise — from tax breaks they are not entitled to receive, the newspaper disclosed.

Preckwinkle described it as a matter of fairness. “Residents have to bear the financial burden when their neighbors wrongfully take property tax exemptions, so this legislation is about leveling the playing field,” Preckwinkle said.

The latest version of the measure has passed the House, and Berrios said he's working with Senate President John Cullerton to build support.

Assessor spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said Berrios also is working with lawmakers to introduce a plan to let senior citizens apply for their property tax exemption every three years instead of requiring them to do so each year.

Seniors used to automatically get the exemption, but the General Assembly changed the law in 2010 to require them to reapply each year. A plan Berrios endorsed to make the senior exemption automatic once again stalled in the House last year, in part because House Speaker Michael Madigan did not support it.

jebyrne@tribune.com
Twitter @_johnbyrne

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Assessor Joe Berrios on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to give them more power to go after property owners who improperly claim tax breaks, saying they could recover more than $150 million in three years with the new authority.
Under legislation pending in Springfield, counties could go after back taxes from people who have wrongly received homestead exemptions. The tax break should only be applied to a property owner's primary residence, but people often also claim it for rental properties, vacation homes and secondary residences. Other property owners get inappropriate property tax reductions for being a senior citizen, disabled person or disabled veteran.
People who claimed multiple improper homestead exemptions also would be fined a percentage of their unpaid taxes, and the county could place liens on the properties to try to compel property owners to pay up.
A similar measure stalled in Springfield last year, which Berrios blamed on pressure from real estate agents and landlords who oppose the plan. The assessor also said the previous version of the bill got weighed down by unrelated proposals that got attached to it during the legislative process. “This bill is a stand-alone,” Berrios said at a news conference, explaining why he's optimistic the new version will pass.
Based on the number of exemption cheats he said he has found to date, Berrios estimated $154 million would be returned to the county, school districts and the like during the first three years the plan was in effect.
Last October, the Tribune found numerous examples of public officials collecting improper homestead exemptions. And they were just a few examples among thousands of taxpayers who have benefited — intentionally or otherwise — from tax breaks they are not entitled to receive, the newspaper disclosed.
Preckwinkle described it as a matter of fairness. “Residents have to bear the financial burden when their neighbors wrongfully take property tax exemptions, so this legislation is about leveling the playing field,” Preckwinkle said.
The latest version of the measure has passed the House, and Berrios said he's working with Senate President John Cullerton to build support.
Assessor spokeswoman Kelly Quinn said Berrios also is working with lawmakers to introduce a plan to let senior citizens apply for their property tax exemption every three years instead of requiring them to do so each year.
Seniors used to automatically get the exemption, but the General Assembly changed the law in 2010 to require them to reapply each year. A plan Berrios endorsed to make the senior exemption automatic once again stalled in the House last year, in part because House Speaker Michael Madigan did not support it.




Recent Headlines

Editorial: A Chicago revival: The Lazarus of Harrison Street
Friday, June 15, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Growing food, community
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Help Squad: Consumers can file lawsuits and other legal documents online —some free via an online fee waiver
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Residents speak out as Wilmette Board introduces minimum wage and sick time ordinances
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

County's bid to avoid attorney fees for paraplegic detainee backfires
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Forest Preserves Show Off To Visitors At Daley Plaza
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
WBBW News Radio

Peek Inside the Old Cook County Hospital, Vacant for 16 Years
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
NBC Chicago

After 16 years, renovation underway at old Cook County Hospital
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
WGN Television

Officials break ground on $1 billion overhaul of long-vacant Cook County Hospital
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

George Leighton, legendary Chicago judge and courthouse namesake, dies at 105
Thursday, June 07, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

George Leighton, Chicago judge for whom criminal courthouse is named, dies at 105
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County allows video gambling in unincorporated areas
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Backpage.com lawsuit against Cook County sheriff dismissed
Saturday, June 02, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dorothy Brown’s office to get federal monitor for hiring practices
Friday, June 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Coyote puppies tagged, health work-ups conducted in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

EDITORIAL: Justice delayed 16 months — until a reporter starts nosing around
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Making Baby Walleye in Cook County
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

MISSING FILES IN CLERK’S OFFICE, DELAYED JUSTICE FOR INMATES
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Hospital redevelopment nears starting line, with $135 million in financing
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County medical examiner reviewing more than 200 cases handled by fired pathologist
Friday, May 25, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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