Statistics show Illinois is a high-tax state. Ironically, advocates of tax hikes across the state often argue that Illinois is a low-tax state. The people have a right to know the truth about Illinois’ tax environment.
If you add up Illinois’ state and local taxes and as of the end of 2010, Illinois residents have the ninth-highest overall tax burden per capita in the nation. And that’s even before factoring in the 67 percent income tax hike from 2011.
One of the most painful taxes residents in Illinois face is property taxes. Property taxes fund a multitude of local government agencies, such as: municipalities, schools, park districts, libraries, TIF districts, mosquito abatement districts, townships, counties and more.
With 6,968 local governments, Illinois has more than 2,000 more local government agencies than any other state. Pennsylvania comes in second with 4,905.
These local governments cost Illinois residents a very pretty penny. Tax Foundation data show that Illinois has the second-highest property taxes for owner-occupied housing in the entire country.
As of 2010, the median Illinois resident’s property tax rate was 1.93 percent, which is equivalent to $5,790 in property taxes annually on a $300,000 home. This rate is second only to New Jersey’s rate of 2.01 percent.
Here’s a look at how Illinois’ property tax rates stacks up against its neighbors:
The Tax Foundation also breaks down property taxes on a county-by-county basis.
Illinois has 17 counties that rank in the top 100 nationally for the highest median effective property tax rates.
High property taxes are a huge problem in Illinois, especially at a time when property values are decreasing while taxes continue to increase. Action on the state and local level to control property taxes is needed.
Fortunately there is a proposal to have property tax levies frozen when property values decrease. A bill sponsored by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, House Bill 89, which would freeze property tax levies in years when the equalized assessed value of all properties in the district dropped. If a district wants to increase property tax levies they would have to go to a referendum of local voters.
Illinois property owners are buried under the weight of high property taxes – something has got to give. Common sense reforms like HB 89 are long overdue.
Brian Costin is Director of Government Reform at the Illinois Policy Institute