January 20, 2023
The following are summaries of the five most-read posts presented on the Civic Federation’s blog in 2022, listed here in chronological order. The posts examine issues related to property taxes and inflation, the relationship between cash bail reform and crime, and the financial impact of ending cash bail.
Jan. 13, 2022
The elimination of cash bail was one of the major reforms in a criminal justice omnibus bill signed into law by Governor Pritzker in February 2021. Using information publicly available in data dashboards produced by the Office of the Cook County Chief Judge, the Civic Federation in January 2022 compiled this roundup of key takeaways regarding the pretrial release decisions made in Cook County bond court through June 30, 2021, as well as the public safety outcomes associated with those pretrial releases. The elimination of cash bail was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, but was stayed by the Illinois Supreme Court on Dec. 31, 2022, pending appeal of a ruling by a lower court that the law was unconstitutional.
Feb. 11, 2022
When inflation levels meet or exceed 5.0%, governments subject to the Illinois Property Tax Extension Limit Law (PTELL) are allowed to increase their local property tax levels to the 5.0% cap. It was understood in early 2022 that inflation for the year would be well over 5%, meaning property taxpayers in affected counties could expect higher tax bills in 2023. In this blog post, the Civic Federation voiced its support for extending the PTELL law to all Illinois counties to ensure taxpayers are protected from even higher tax increases related to inflationary real estate markets. The post also explains the history of PTELL and how the law works, as well as Chicago’s own tax cap ordinance as a home rule unit of government not subject to the PTELL law.
March 25, 2022
This post provides information on residential and commercial effective property tax rates in 84 south Cook County municipalities, all located in the South Cook County Assessment Triad, in tax years 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2019. The post also compares these effective tax rates to those for the City of Chicago in the same years. Effective property tax rates are useful for broadly comparing average property tax burdens in different areas over time but do not shed light on the precise tax burdens of specific properties. This post explores reasons for changes in effective tax rates; major findings related to residential effective tax rates and commercial effective tax rates; the methodology used to calculate effective tax rates; the effects of exemptions on residential effective tax rates; and more.
Sept. 22, 2022
The Tax Foundation released a report in September 2022 that provides a county-by-county and state-by-state context for evaluating property tax burden across the United States. The report reaffirms that Illinois property owners pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. The Tax Foundation’s report also sheds light on median taxes paid on owner-occupied housing by county in the United States, as well as effective tax rates, or the percentage of total value paid in property taxes annually, by county and by state. This allows for comparison between counties and states.
Dec. 16, 2022
During veto session in early December 2022, the Illinois General Assembly passed a series of amendments to the SAFE-T (Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity – Today) Act. The SAFE-T Act (Public Act 101-0652) was passed by the Illinois General Assembly in January 2021, signed by Governor Pritzker in February 2021, and was amended in June 2021 and January 2022. The most recent amendments were passed by the Illinois House and Senate on Dec. 1, 2022, and signed by Governor Pritzker on Dec. 6, 2022 into Public Act 102-1104. This blog post examines the SAFE-T Act’s December 2022 amendments as well as its June 2021 and January 2022 amendments. The SAFE-T Act is now on hold following a Dec. 31, 2022, suspension put in place by the Illinois Supreme Court to allow for appeal of a lower court decision which declared the law unconstitutional.