Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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.
   
     
     
     



Kadner: Debt and taxes grow, Cook County treasurer reports

Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Daily Southtown
by Phil Kadner

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas believes that if people find out how local governments are spending their tax money they will do something about it.

So Pappas has accumulated an impressive amount of financial data on 489 of the 553 government bodies that collect property tax revenue in Cook County and placed it on a website, www.cookcountypropertyinfo.com.

Pappas said the total debt of local governments in Cook County has reached $140 billion ($35,774 per suburban household).

This isn’t money that Cook County government is spending or owes. These are local taxing bodies such as school districts, municipalities, park districts, library districts, fire protection districts, etc.

Pappas contends that while world attention is focused on the economic crisis in Greece, national attention is focused on the Great Recession and major media expose Illinois’ massive debt, no one is looking at the local picture.

“This is the first time anyone has put all this information together, where the average person can access it and find out just what kind of financial shape their local governments are in,” Pappas said of her office’s debt disclosure report.

“Every single person (in Cook County) has 14 to 20 government agencies they’re paying property taxes to, and now they can see just what kind of financial condition they (agencies) are in. It’s the sort of information I would want if I were looking at buying a home somewhere. It’s the sort of information I would want if I lived in a community.”

By typing your property index number (located on your tax bill) into a web link, you can find this financial information that affects you.

Pappas notes in her report that Illinois has 6,994 units of local government, far more than any other state. That’s 2,000 more than in Pennsylvania, which ranks second in the country with 4,871 units of government, she said.

Pappas makes a valiant attempt at explaining the county’s property tax system, which confounds most homeowners.

Although many people complain about their property assessments and tax bills, few understand that the property tax is really all about the tax levy — the total amount of money that each taxing district seeks to raise to support the services it provides you.

If everyone in a suburb managed by some miracle to get their assessment reduced, your suburb would still have to collect what it levies to pay for police, street repairs, snow removal and other town functions.

In her report on local debt, Pappas also explains the property tax cap system and how referendums are used to get around the cap. She uses the Palos Fire Protection District as an example because it held a referendum in the March primary election to raise its tax limit.

Readers of this newspaper should be aware of that because the SouthtownStar printed several stories about the financial woes of the fire district and discussions about it merging with the Orland Fire Protection District.

Pappas implies that the language of the Palos district referendum was confusing, if not misleading, because it described how much the tax increase would be on a home with a market value of $100,000 ($82.50) — leaving residents to do the math if they owned a home with a higher market value, as is the case for most homes in the district.

I think referendum language is usually confusing. Some of that is required legally, and some of it is designed to confuse the voter. But in this case, I think people could do the math, and I think people understood the issue pretty well.

They voted to increase the district’s property tax rate to provide more revenue and keep both its fire stations open. Will they remember that when their increased property tax bills arrive?

Speaking of fire protection districts, one of the more fascinating statistics in the treasurer’s report is the increase in their levies from 2000 to 2010 — by 84.7 percent, from $50.4 million to $93.2 million.

Levies for cities and villages rose by 75.4 percent over that 10-year period, from $755.6 million to $1.3 billion. Those for school districts, which represent about 67 percent of the typical property tax bill in Cook County, rose by 58.4 percent, from $2.8 billion to $4.5 billion.

Overall, levies for all governments in the county increased by 48.3 percent, from $7.8 billion in 2000 to $11.69 billion in 2010.

“If the state switches teacher pension funding to suburban school districts, it can only make the property tax situation worse,” Pappas told me.

There’s plenty of government spending information out there, if taxpayers want to find it. While people like to complain, I think few care enough to do the research.



Recent Headlines

Home sales plummet in June in 12th straight down month
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

What Is The Best Time To Appeal A Cook County Property Tax Assessment?
Monday, July 22, 2019
CBS Chicago

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas on unclaimed property tax exemptions: ” Most seniors didn’t know that they could get it.”
Friday, July 19, 2019
WGN Chicago

Top Forest Preserve cop quits after burying ticket of county pol’s pal who asked ‘Do you know who I am?’
Friday, July 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: ‘Do you know who I am?’ Not yet, but we sure know your type
Friday, July 19, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo says he got a friend’s parking ticket voided
Friday, July 19, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The story behind those commercial assessment hikes everyone's mad about
Friday, July 19, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago-Area Cooling Centers Offer Residents Chance to Beat the Heat
Thursday, July 18, 2019
NBC 5 Chicago

Editorial: ‘Do you know who I am?’ Not yet, but the people of Cook County deserve to find out.
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Top Forest Preserve cop quits after burying ticket of county pol’s pal who asked ‘Do you know who I am?
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago’s top cop ‘must stop misleading the public’ about violence, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says in heated letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Chicago Tribune

‘Do you know who I am?’ Investigators say Cook County commissioner pressed cops to scrap ally’s $250 parking ticket
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

IG: Cook County needs revamp on sexual harassment outside of work following allegations against Preckwinkle ex-chief of staff
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Construction Begins on New Cook County Health Center
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Daily Herald

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

all news items

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