Cook County landlords get bad news about 2020 taxes

Commercial landlords will see 15% hike on 2020 tax bills in northern Cook County, while homeowners will see just 1.1% rise

TRD CHICAGO /
Jun.June 22, 2020 11:00 AM
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and downtown Evanston

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and downtown Evanston

The numbers are in, and commercial landlords in northern Cook County are going to take a hit.

Though the average residential tax bill in the north and northwest rose just 1.1 percent this year from 2019, the average bill for commercial and industrial properties rose nearly 16 percent, according to Crain’s.

Commercial landlords told the outlet that they believe Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi overcorrected when doling out new assessment hikes, which will further depress investment in an already fraught business climate.

“Businesses that were already struggling have been hit with massive property tax increases that are growing 8 times faster than the rate of inflation,” Dave Smolensky, a spokesman for Renew Cook County, a landlord-backed group that’s criticized Kaegi, told Crain’s. “It’s unsustainable.”

Kaegi replaced Jose Berrios in 2018 and has vowed to reform an assessment system he has described as inequitable because of unreliable cap rates, leading to a disproportionate burden on homeowners.

The average commercial and industrial tax bill rose more than 20 percent in 10 suburbs.

Some landlords believe Kaegi’s figures are far higher than they should be. Stuart Handler, whose firm owns apartment buildings throughout Cook County, said that one of his apartment buildings had a 2020 tax bill that represented 26 percent of gross income, far higher than the 14 to 18 percent standard, according to Crain’s.

“That’s just egregious, and you can’t operate a property with that heavy of a load,” Handler said. [Crain’s]James Kleimann

 

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