Suburban voters oppose statewide property tax…even though no one’s proposing one

Opponents said results should serve as a warning to Legislature not to pursue the idea

(Credit: Pixabay)
(Credit: Pixabay)

Voters in a number of Chicago suburbs this week came out against a statewide property tax — even though there’s no proposal to implement one.

In Tuesday’s election, a referendum asked whether the Legislature should institute a property tax of 1 percent of home value, and more than 60 percent of the voters came out against it, according to Crain’s. The measure appeared on the ballot in DuPage, Kane and Lake counties and Cook County’s Hanover Township.

A trio of economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago floated the statewide tax as a way to pay off the state’s $129 billion in unfunded pension obligations, and a Kane County Board member who opposes the idea said the referendum results should serve as a warning to lawmakers.

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“This vote sends a pretty good message to the General Assembly that the idea is a nonstarter,” Kurt Kojzarek told Crain’s.

In total, 536,115 votes in favor of blocking the tax and 198,684 opposed, or 73 percent to 27 percent.

Those numbers stand in contrast to the results of a referendum in Evanston on Tuesday, where 52 percent of voters approved a measure to raise the city’s real estate transfer tax on the sale of properties above $1.5 million, with an even sharper hike on home sales above $5 million.

In Chicago, no fewer than three proposals to raise the property transfer tax on pricey sales have been introduced, though outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel came out against the idea. [Crain’s] — John O’Brien