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Coalition Opposes Property Tax Hikes

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A citywide tax reform coalition is demanding that proposals to raise property taxes be withdrawn.

The Tax Reform Action Coalition will hold a press conference at City Hall (2nd floor) at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 31.

Members of the TRAC, which includes 45 community groups from across the city, hope to give public comment on the city’s budget proposal after the City Council meeting Wednesday morning.

Community activists from West Town and Brighton Park will speak at the press conference Wednesday morning. “We’ll have important people there — registered voters and taxpayers,” said Barb Head of TRAC.

The stop-gap extension of the cap on increases in property tax assessments passed recently in Springfield was “far short of what we need,” Head said. Chicago taxpayers are getting “hammered” this year by reassessments reflecting five years of strong real estate appreciation, she said, while Mayor Daley¬†proposes a huge property tax increase and County Board President Stroger seeks a hike for the forest preserves.

As a long-term, systemic reform, TRAC backs acquisition-based assessment, limiting increases to a small percentage and reassessing properties when they are sold, based on actual purchase prices. “It’s fair and predictable,” Head said, adding that longtime residents of neighborhoods undergoing development have seen their assessments go up by hundreds of percent in recent years.

Where should the money come from, if property tax hikes are unacceptable? Head suggests looking at the $400 million a year in property tax revenue that is set aside – with no public accountability – in over 150 TIFs in the city