Mayor Richard M. Daley today again called on the Illinois General Assembly to give Chicago homeowners much-needed property tax relief by passing legislation this session making permanent the $20,000 homestead exemption that was contained in the now-expired “7 percent cap” program.
“Especially in these difficult times, it’s critical that we do everything we can to fight for Chicago's working and middle class families. They are the heart and soul of our city. If they prosper, Chicago prospers,” Daley said in a news conference held at the Mozart Park fieldhouse at 2036 N. Avers.
“In January, we introduced legislation to make permanent the alternative homestead exemption at $20,000 and we knew we would need a strong effort to pass such a bill. Time is growing short to help our hard-pressed homeowners. Springfield must act now,” he said.
The Mayor pointed out that the market value and the assessed value for many homes has dropped significantly in the past two years because of the recession, but that unless the exemption is restored it is likely that the property tax bill for most homeowners may not reflect the full drop in the value of the home.
“Unless the legislature acts, more than over 180,000 Chicago's homeowners from every part of the city will be affected, he said.
“Without the exemption, the tax bills that go out later this year could go up by as much as $600 in Chicago and will increase next year in suburban Cook County and the tax relief that totaled millions of dollars for hundreds of thousands of homeowners in the City and suburban Cook County will be lost,” he said.
Daley said the City did not raise property taxes or any other new tax, fine or fee in this year's budget, and that the tax bills that go out later this year will show that the city didn’t raise property taxes in the 2009 budget, either.
The Mayor reminded property owners who believe their assessment is too high to appeal it to the Board of Review. Information regarding what Chicago neighborhoods are still open for appeal is available by calling 311.
And he urged all eligible Chicagoans to take advantage of the City’s property tax relief program, which runs until March 31. Under the program, property owners may receive tax relief up to $200.
To date, the Chicago Tax Assistance Center has received more than 20,000 applications for the program and more than 5,000 homeowners have already received debit cards totaling more than $600,000 in tax relief.
“I know that passing property tax relief this year is a major undertaking and an uphill battle, but I won’t stop fighting for it because the economic health and strength of Chicago's neighborhoods is at stake,” Daley said.
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