Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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 Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



Here’s Why Cook County’s Property Tax Freeze Might Thaw

Tuesday, September 03, 2019
WBEZ News
by Kristin Schorsch

Cook County government could end a 25-year-old property tax freeze to generate more money for two of its core missions: public safety and health care.

It’s not something that would be immediate. It wouldn’t happen even in 2020, said Ammar Rizki, the county’s chief financial officer.

But a small property tax increase by capturing the rise in inflation could be among recommendations from an independent commission that helps the county better forecast revenue coming in, said Rizki, who leads the commission.

In an email, a spokesman for County Board President Toni Preckwinkle confirmed she expects the commission “to review this matter in the near future.” Preckwinkle declined an interview request to provide more details.

The Cook County Board would have to agree to such an increase, and it’s not clear what kind of appetite commissioners have for further burdening property owners -- who are also their voters.

“People are conscious that the largest asset that any of our citizens own are their houses,” said longtime Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston. “So taxing their houses becomes something that can be difficult to do.”

 

Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer, D-Chicago, called tax hikes “kryptonite” at the county health system’s meeting last week when the discussion turned toward how to generate more money. The most reviled Cook County tax hike in recent years was on sugary beverages. Commissioners repealed it after taxpayers revolted.

Chicagoans in particular have been seeing their property taxes increase in recent years, after former Mayor Rahm Emanuel ushered through a historic hike in order to shore up the city's foundering pension systems. New Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has not yet detailed how she’ll address a projected $838 million budget shortfall for next year, but she has not ruled out a property tax hike.

In 1994, Cook County government capped the portion of property taxes it collects from property owners at $720 million a year. But for the last 25 years, the county board could have allowed that number to grow with inflation – known as natural growth – but they haven’t been. That’s what the independent revenue forecast commission could recommend, Rizki said.

In county budget briefings, Rizki has projected years of deficits ahead, peaking at more than $100 million in 2024.

“One thing’s for sure: On the expense side, our expenditures are growing at least by inflation,” Rizki said. “So we want to be able to match the growth on the revenue side, too. Otherwise we’ll constantly find ourselves in this whole where we have to raise some other tax or cut critical services that are needed.”

Indeed, over the years commissioners have chosen to shore up revenue in other ways and cut expenses, including layoffs, instead of hiking property taxes.

But the impact of not tacking on the growth of inflation to property taxes has added up, totaling about $460 million since the cap began 25 years ago, Rizki said.

For perspective, if the county decided to capture the rise in inflation for next year, it would generate an additional $14 million to $15 million.

That doesn’t sound like much when the county’s overall annual budget is about $6 billion. But Ralph Martire, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, said to consider the long game.

“Costs grow,” Martire said. “It’s irrational for voters and taxpayers to think that government doesn’t need … added revenue that at least keeps up with inflation from year to year to simply meet the cost of providing the same level of services.”

Kristen Schorsch covers Cook County politics for WBEZ. Follow her @kschorsch.

 

 



Recent Headlines

Elevating Evanston Youth
Monday, February 24, 2020
Northwestern

Cook County Health finance chief departs
Monday, February 24, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

$14 million settlement proposed in lawsuit over Cook County inmates masturbating in front of female public defenders
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

The correct response to violent crime? Believe it or not, we're seeing it in Cook County.
Friday, February 21, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

For The First Time In More Than A Decade, The Waitlist For Suburban Public Housing Is Opening
Friday, February 21, 2020
WBEZ News

Flashback: Cook County Hospital was home to big egos, surgical drama and stalwarts who found purpose in treating the poor
Friday, February 21, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Can courts do more to force FOID card violators to give up their guns?
Monday, February 17, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Keep the Cook County Health board independent
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Park Ridge looks to move 911 dispatching services to Cook County call center
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: A report’s flaws suggest: Cook County bail reforms may have endangered the public
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Offering rehab instead of jail time, ‘Drug Court’ gives some a second chance
Thursday, February 13, 2020
WGN News

Preckwinkle aide barred from her offices after sexual harassment incident
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

New outreach group combating Cook County’s opioid crisis by offering treatment, hope
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
WGN News

Evanston Officials Eye County Grant for Construction of New Animal Shelter
Monday, February 10, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

CTA to spend $38 million studying Red Line extension
Monday, February 10, 2020
Chicago Tribune

In Illinois — the Prairie State — little prairie land remains. But work is being done to save what’s left in Cook County and restore more.
Thursday, February 06, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Brookfield Zoo chief heads for the exits
Thursday, February 06, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Suspect in weekend killing of Cook County inmate accused of beating another detainee in November attack captured on video
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Tribune

MacArthur grants Cook County another $2.5 million for criminal justice reform
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Property tax hikes won’t be that bad, new report says
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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