Treasurer Maria Pappas analysis shows record-high property tax increases for south suburban homeowners

Homeowners in many south and southwest suburbs will have to pay a lot more in property taxes as the median tax bill jumped a record 19.9% in the region, according to an analysis released today by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

 

The biggest increases in homeowners’ tax bills occurred in 15 south suburbs where taxes soared 30% or more. Of those 15 suburbs, 13 have mostly Black populations. In two towns, Dixmoor and Phoenix, the median tax bill more than doubled.

 

“Many homeowners are going to be shocked and angry when they get their bills,” Pappas said. “South suburban homeowners already pay some of the highest property taxes in the county, and these increases will make paying those bills even more difficult.”

 

A research team created by Pappas released its Tax Year 2023 Bill Analysis, a detailed examination of nearly 1.8 million bills to be mailed to property owners July 2 and due a month later on Aug. 1.

 

This year’s Second Installment bills include a new feature, “Where Your Money Goes,” that breaks down the amounts of money billed by each taxing district and shows whether taxes went up or down.

 

Among key findings of the analysis:

 

Across Cook County, property taxes rose about $706 million, climbing from $17.6 billion to $18.3 billion. Homeowners are shouldering an extra $611 million, or nearly 86% of this year’s increase, while commercial properties owe an extra $102.9 million and taxes on vacant land dropped by $7.8 million.

In the south and southwest suburbs, where all properties were reassessed, taxes rose a total of $265.4 million. The median south suburban residential tax bill increased by 19.9%, the largest percentage increase in at least 29 years, according to Treasurer’s data. Homeowners bore the brunt of the increase as their taxes rose $396.8 million while taxes on commercial properties dropped by $121.6 million.

In the north and northwest suburbs, taxes rose $213.7 million from $4.06 billion to $4.27 billion. Residential taxes increased $109.8 million while taxes on commercial properties increased $103.1 million.

In Chicago, taxes increased by a modest 2.6%, largely because of an increase in the Chicago Public Schools tax levy and bill increases in many tax increment finance districts. In the north and northwest suburbs, overall taxes rose by 4%, with slightly bigger percentage increases for businesses than homeowners.

Homeowners in the south and southwest suburbs are being hit hard because new assessment shifted 4% of the overall tax burden from businesses onto them. The financial shift was caused by elimination of the 10% COVID-19 assessment reduction enacted in 2020, higher home selling prices and the success businesses had appealing their assessments at the Board of Review, which handles appeals of valuations made by the Assessor’s Office.

Particularly hard hit were homeowners in Park Forest, where the median residential bill rose by 56% to $7,152. In Dixmoor, the median bill increased by 122%, to $1,950. And in Phoenix, where nearly all of the village is in a tax increment finance district, the median bill shot up by 107% to $1,744.

 

Nearly 4,200 south and southwest suburban homeowners who paid no taxes last year will get bills this year. That’s because the value of their exemptions no longer exceeds the higher assessed values of their homes. The median for those bills was $1,115.

 

Across the county, more than 1.3 million homeowners must pay more in property taxes, while about 251,600 were billed less. Taxes for more than 88,000 commercial properties increased, while nearly 28,000 went down.

 

State law allows school districts to hike taxes by the prior year’s increase in the Consumer Price Index, or 5%, whichever is less. Because the CPI increased by 6.5% in 2022, school districts were allowed a 5% increase. But the overall percentage increase was higher, partly due to a provision called recapture.

 

Recapture is a 2021 provision in the Illinois tax code that allows school districts and many local governments to recover money refunded to property owners who successfully appealed their taxes the previous year. Recapture led to an additional $136.3 million being tacked onto bills this year. That’s $51.9 million less than was added to property owners’ bills last year.

 

Significant increases in the amount of money the city of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools said they needed to operate, coupled with recapture and higher tax increment financing district bills, boosted the overall property tax burden in Chicago by $221.8 million. That broke down as a $116.6 million increase on commercial properties and a $103.9 million increase on residential properties.

 

The analysis is the latest addition to the Pappas Studies, a series of examinations of the complex property tax system available at cookcountytreasurer.com.

 

Property owners who don’t want to wait for their bills to arrive in the mail can pay their taxes online now at cookcountytreasurer.com. Partial payments are accepted.

“Bulgaria SEGA” newspaper
Source: Cook County Treasurer

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