IL residents hope for property tax reform under the new Democratic administration

JB Pritzker pledges to reform Illinois’ current tax system in his first speech as Governor

Property tax reform proposal

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Experts say Illinois’ property taxes are one of the highest in the nation. Newly-elected Governor JB Pritzker pledges to reform Illinois’ current tax system in his first speech as governor on Monday, Jan. 14.

“Today, our state’s fiscal instability affects every single person who lives and works in Illinois…whether you earn millions or the minimum wage," Pritzker said.

The property taxes in Carbondale and throughout the state benefit the local school districts.

Kathena “Tom” Clemons is a stylist in Carbondale. She says she has paid a lot in property taxes,“It’s been so many years, and I know I paid out so much money on property taxes."

At a local grocery store, Faith Nett with her children who are home-schooled says, “I would like for [the property taxes] to be reduced, so that we could more of our own money to do what we choose.”

Both Nett and Clemons are homeowners in southern Illinois, whose children do not benefit from the property taxes they pay.

While they are both “fine” with their dollars benefiting the school, they tell Heartland News they wish the taxes could be reduced.

“I would love to see taxes go I say, I love the fact that I can help the schools...but it’s a way that we can help both the taxpayers plus the schools, would be great,” Clemons says.

In his first speech as governor, JB Pritzker highlighted the problem, “Our regressive tax system, including property taxes and sales taxes, currently has the middle class paying more than double the rate the wealthy pay. That’s not fair, and it also doesn’t pay our bills.”

But that may be easier said than done, at least right now, according to Paul Simon Public Policy Institute political expert John Jackson. He says, “They can hope we get our budget balanced and they take care of these immediate needs, and then in the long term they can hope for more state expenditure picking up more of the tab for local education cost. but that’s not going to happen immediately. they’ve got to come up with a balanced budget first of all.”

While Jackson says he’s “cautiously optimistic”, Nett says she wants the freedom to where to place her money. “I would like for the new administration to let us keep more of our own money to decide where we want to put it, where it would benefit us.”

As for 2019, Governor Pritzker’s spokesperson Jordan Abudayyeh says, "Governor Pritzker looks forward to working with the General Assembly to invest in education for students in every corner of the state. The governor campaigned on a fair tax that would increase state funding for education, which today relies far too heavily on local property taxes.”

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