October 22, 2008

Daley, Suburban Mayors Remind Homeowners to Appeal Assessment

Mayor Daley with Suburban Mayors
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Richard M. Daley today reminded homeowners they can act today to assure that their home value reflects the nation’s slowing economy before tax bills go out next year.

"Property owners who have not appealed since their last reassessment and who believe the value of their property has decreased in that time now have an opportunity to go before the Cook County Board of Review," Daley said a City Hall news conference at which he was joined by the three commissioners of the Board of Review and suburban Mayors and City Managers.

Such an appeal will affect the tax bill to be mailed in fall, 2009, and not the tax bill recently received by Cook County property owners. The Board is now open to receive appeals.

"When property tax bills went out two weeks ago, many homeowners throughout Cook County were shocked to see that their bills had increased. In Chicago, many homeowners saw increases of $700 or more," Daley said.

"The officials joining me today share my concern that assessments should not be increasing when values are clearly decreasing. They also agree that we need to look to the future and create a property tax assessment system that ensures predictability and fairness are reflected in property tax bills," he said.

He pointed out that bills for most homeowners would have been lower had two things happened:

  • The bills had been based on the lower home values many property owners experienced last year, and not on the property’s 2006 value.
    "Earlier this year, when we asked the Cook County Assessor's Office to correct the assessments of our city's hardest hit neighborhoods before bills went out this year, they didn’t act. This step could have saved hard hit homeowners hundreds of dollars,” Daley said.
  • The legislature had enacted a higher exemption as part of extending the 7% cap on home values last year
    "For many years, I've argued that Cook County's property tax assessment system is broken and must be fixed. The nation's economic recession has only driven home the urgency of this point," Daley said.

The mayor suggested two steps that need to be taken to address the problem:

  • When the Cook County Assessor's Office re-assesses the city next year, they need to make sure that there are procedures in place that capture the lower home values that people are experiencing across the city.
  • When the legislature convenes, it should increase the maximum homeowner's exemption for all homeowners and make it permanent.

"Let's avoid the song and dance of renewing the 7% cap every three years.

Every homeowner understands that higher property tax bills this year are also the result of our state's over-reliance on property taxes to fund education,” Daley said.

"Every homeowner also understands that as long as the legislature in Springfield doesn't fundamentally reform the way education is funded so that local property taxpayers don't unfairly carry the burden, there will be year to year pressure for our schools to increase taxes," he said.

Daley said Chicago residents wanting help in developing an appeal should call 311 and a representative from the Chicago Assistance Center will get back to them.

Suburban taxpayers should contact the Board of Review or visit one of its suburban offices.