Joe Berrios makes a dicey situation worse
What Chris Kennedy got right about Cook County property taxes
Sweet deal: This $1.7 million house gets just a $3,000 property tax bill
When examined by township, the CODs were much worse.
In the South township of the city, the average COD found was 21. In Hyde Park Township, it was 30; in Lake Township on the West Side, 44; and in south suburban Calumet, almost 50. The population in all of those is predominantly black.
In comparison, the CODs in the north lakefront's North and Lake View Township were 13 and 11, respectively. And in suburban Elk Grove, Palatine and Orland, the CODs all were 8 or less.
The alliance found similar results by two other measures, known as price-related differential and price-related bias, with Chicago's error rate on the latter five times the industry standard.
The alliance also found one other troubling thing: By all three standards, results got worse after they left Berrios' hands and moved to the Board of Review.
The alliance is still working on its final list of proposals to fix this, but said the key is to get accurate assessments to start from the assessor, so that owners don't have any incentive to roll the dice and appeal to the board, which grants reductions in up to 64 percent of the cases that come before it.
Also needed, it says, are better IT, improved staffing and fixes in the core model that Berrios uses to make his assessments.
I'll add in some political reaction later. You can expect a lot.
Summary Results of Phase 2
4:30 P.M. UPDATE:
It has begun. From a spokesman for Gov. Bruce Rauner:
"The Cook County property tax system is hurting the middle class and low-income people because it's corrupt to its core. Government leaders and the politically-connected like (House Speaker Mike) Madigan, Berrios, and (J.B.) Pritzker are benefiting despite their claims to stand up for those who don't have a voice. Governor Rauner is fighting to end this corruption and return power to the people of Illinois."
Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, says he's read enough.
“Despite a prescribed pathway to fairness, under Assessor Berrios, the Office has consistently and systematically over taxed poor and working families in Cook County – particularly those on Chicago's South and West Sides and in the already ailing south suburbs,” Beals says. He's endorsing Berrios' primary re-election foe, Fritz Kaegi.
Says Chris Kennedy in a statement, “Today's report proves that Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios knowingly gutted the economic future of homeowners, particularly in African-American and Latino communities, while our schools are underfunded, so that his wealthy and well-connected friends could save money. He's been unapologetic and shameless throughout this investigation. . . .I called on Joe Berrios to resign months ago and today I renew that call. J.B. Pritzker took 48 hours to criticize the way Speaker Madigan handled a sexual harassment complaint and has been silent for months on Joe Berrios' corrupt property tax system. With the evidence outlined in today's study, he has no choice but to denounce Berrios and join my call for him to resign.”
5:30 P.M. UPDATE:
Two more bits of reaction from gubernatorial candidates, strikingly different in tone.
Says Daniel Biss, "Middle-class families like mine don’t need a study or high-priced consultant to tell us property taxes are stacked against us . . . We all understand that the system is rigged, but that’s where the similarities end: I have a personal stake in fixing the system while my opponents benefit from its continuation. That’s why I’ve worked with ordinary homeowners, advocacy groups, and my colleagues in the legislature to find ways to root our corruption and hold wealthy homeowners accountable for paying their fair share.”
From J.B. Pritzker’s spokeswoman, “As J.B. has said before, our property tax system is seriously flawed, disproportionately harming people who live in minority and low-income communities. We need to reform our property tax system so that it’s accurate and equitable. Counties should use the latest technology and best practices so that we reduce our reliance on the appeals process by getting it right the first time. And we need to address the underlying issue of how we can bring property taxes down, and that’s by funding our schools at the state level with a progressive income tax.”