Opinion: Legislation would reduce property taxes in Illinois


This week, Senate Republicans continued their call to advance legislation that would reduce property taxes in Illinois, while also encouraging residents to honor those veterans who have served our country.
Property tax burden
Allowing voters in counties under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), the state’s property tax cap law, the ability to reduce their property taxes via referendum is the aim of a measure (Senate Bill 2670) stalled in the Illinois Senate.  Illinois residents are already over-taxed and paying some of the highest property taxes in the nation.  Senate Republicans believe a hearing is necessary so we can begin providing the tax relief our residents deserve and are demanding.
PTELL was put into place in 1990. It first applied to the suburban Chicago counties and slowly expanded over the years. Currently Cook and the collar counties are subject to PTELL limitations as well as about forty percent of other counties across the state.
In PTELL counties, a local government can only increase yearly tax revenues up to five percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Voters can vote to raise their property taxes above the cap, but are not allowed to go to referendum to lower them. In non-PTELL counties, voters have both the ability to raise and lower their own property taxes via referendum.
Senate Bill 2670 outlines the petition and voting requirements that would be needed to place the question on the ballot in PTELL counties. A petitioner must obtain signatures of at least ten percent of the votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election within that taxing district. The proposition needs a simple majority to pass. The proposal mirrors current law for non-PTELL counties.
Tax ranking
According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, Illinois ranks a poor 36th among the 50 states for its overall business tax climate. The group recently-released its 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index, which places Illinois’ corporate tax rank in 39th place, while our property tax burden is rated 45th and our unemployment insurance tax ranks in 42nd place. These three categories represent tax burdens that negatively affect job creation, which in turn limit opportunities for Illinois workers.
Veterans
Illinois residents are encouraged to submit a tribute and photo of their loved ones who served our country in the Armed Forces, which will be displayed on our Veterans Day “Wall of Honor” in the Illinois Capitol Nov. 5-16.
Families are to submit photos and written stories (max: 250 words) along with the following information: name, military branch (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy) and conflict served (Afghanistan, Iraq, September 11, Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, Peacetime, other). Military photos are preferred but not necessary.
Please email submissions to [email protected] by Nov. 5. Submissions can also be mailed to Veterans Day Wall, 309 G Statehouse, Springfield, IL 62706. For questions, call 217-782-1650.


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