Is property tax relief on the way?

A measure to defer payments has been proposed in the legislature and the governor is reassessing his previous position that property tax collection is a local issue

TRD CHICAGO /
May.May 12, 2020 10:05 AM
 Gov. J.B.  Pritzker and State Rep. Allen Skillicorn (Credit: Pritzker via Tyler LaRiviere - Pool/Getty Images; Rep. Allen Skillicorn; iStock)

Gov. J.B.  Pritzker and State Rep. Allen Skillicorn (Credit: Pritzker via Tyler LaRiviere – Pool/Getty Images; Rep. Allen Skillicorn; iStock)

The tax man cometh, but lawmakers may ease the burden on homeowners.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are considering proposals to defer tax payments to assist homeowners upended by the coronavirus, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker — who had previously opposed such measures — may be coming around, according to Crain’s.

At a daily briefing on the coronavirus, Pritzker acknowledged that officials “certainly need to consider everything we can to relieve the tax burden on the people in the state.”

Pritzker has ordered a three-month delay in state income tax payments but has previously called property tax collection a local issue. Cook County officials and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot have not taken a position yet. In December, Lightfoot outlined a plan to plug an $838 million budget deficit she inherited, in part with a property tax increase. Property taxes will go up a total of $65 million in Chicago, under her plan.

Cut to today, when Illinois remains under a modified stay-at-home order through the end of the month, a move that has closed most businesses and left residents desperate.

State Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee), has proposed postponing property tax payments by 90 days when the governor declares a disaster, according to Crain’s. Pritkzer has done that for the coronavirus.

While that measure, if passed, would cut into the budgets of towns and cities, Skillicorn said all municipalities will have to bear the weight, noting that some have sizable reserves.

The legislature, which is not in session, will presumably take up the property tax deferment proposal when it meets to pass a budget in the coming weeks.

The bill to defer homeowner payments does have its opponents. Illinois Municipal League Executive Director Brad Cole said the legislature should not interfere with local governments, adding the bill would “combine the worst actions they could take, pre-empting local authority and imposing an unfunded mandate,” Crain’s reported. [Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman 


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