Chicago City Wire - Cook County official: Mismanagement to blame for tax increases

Commissioner Dan Patlak was featured in an article in the Chicago City Wire:

As the most recent property tax bills in Chicago and Cook County arrive in mailboxes, critics of property tax rates argue that the tax burden will push Illinois residents out of their homes.

The average Chicago property tax bill will increase by 10 percent, while suburban Cook County homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from 3.9 percent to 6.5 percent more, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Hosts Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson spoke with Dan Patlak, a commissioner with the Cook County Board of Review, who said mismanagement of the city has resulted in a series of tax increases that will take place over the next several years.

Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.

Patlak said people need to know they can appeal their property assessments in an effort to cut their tax bills.

“I do about 50 assessment appeal seminars every year throughout my district,” Patlak said. “If you live in the suburbs, you can get help from your local township assessor, and they will help you file an appeal at the board of review.”

The Tribune reported that more than 50 percent of appeals are approved, and that the figure goes up to 80 percent after rejected appeals are considered by the board.

Patlak said that uniquely, Cook County's commercial and industrial properties are assessed at 25 percent, while residential property is assessed at 10 percent, meaning the former subsidizes the latter.

“When a commercial property like the Hilton is forced out of business, their value goes way down, their assessment goes way down and their tax bill goes way down," he said. "When their tax bill goes down, everybody else’s tax bill goes up."

Property taxes are also going up because of unfunded teacher, firefighter and police pensions, Patlak said.

“The previous administration prior to (Mayor) Rahm Emanuel sold off some very large assets, where they had a regular revenue stream, and now that’s disappeared, so they’re left with one main revenue stream, and that is property,” Patlak said.