With property assessments increasing and property taxes going up because of continued demand for more money each year from local governmental units such as schools, villages and park districts, property owners have a right to know they are fairly assessed and paying no more than their fair share of taxes. The Board of Review is the last avenue of appeal for many tax payers and the promises I made were all designed to ensure a timely and fair review at the Board.
In the essay below used for the November 2010 election we laid out the major reasons I was running for the Board of Review and why citizens should cast their vote for me. Those reasons centered around my professional qualifications and safeguarding the appeal process against partisan abuse as well as bringing balance to a Board dominated by Democrats.
Now additional reasons can be added for taxpayers to support my candidacy. Those reasons illustrate a record of success in following through with my campaign promises.
- As the only Republican on the three-member Board and the first full-time commissioner, my presence and continued vigilance as a check and balance has helped to make the Board of Review more professional and user friendly.
- We have pursued an aggressive schedule of assessment appeal seminars to educate the public about their right to appeal and additionally to teach taxpayers as much as possible about our current property tax system so they will be empowered to make informed decisions about their own personal property taxes as well as when exercising their right to vote.
- We have simplified the appeal process for taxpayers by improving our standard letters about hearings.
- We ended the unproductive infighting with the Assessor’s office and entered into a cooperative mode that has resulted in more accurate assessments.
- Our staff has participated in a formal education program through classes offered by the Illinois Property Assessment Institute and the Illinois Department of Revenue. My staff now boasts more Certified Illinois Assessing Officers than any staff in the history of the Board of Review.
- We have kept close contact with the suburban assessor offices, having twenty-seven of their staffs come to the Board for a formal two hour tour and explanation of Board procedures.
- For the first time in Board history, we produced every year since my election a Board of Review Annual Report created and endorsed by all three commissioners which provides information about the Board's responsibilities and detailed statistics on Board activities.
- We have kept our suburban satellite offices open to better serve our 1st district constituents.
- In 2011, we created an on-line appeal system so taxpayers could appeal from the comfort of their homes or offices.
- In 2015, we completely re-engineered our process by creating a Digital Appeals Processing System (DAPS). Among many other benefits, DAPS makes it possible for appellants to upload their evidence to the Board of Review and to create a permanent account so they can view the Board's decision and analyst notes regarding their appeal. The DAPS made it possible for our office to adjudicate a record number (475,000) of appeals during the 2015/2016 assessment appeal period without increasing personnel and while remaining on schedule so tax bills could be mailed on time.
- I continue to serve as the first ever full-time hands on commissioner at the Board of Review.
I ask for your support in the General Election on November 8th, 2016.
Why I Ran in 2010
Please allow me to tell you why it is so important to the taxpayers of Cook County to put the First District Board of Review seat back in the Republican column.
In addition to unprecedented domination of state and City of Chicago government, Democrats currently have absolute autonomy in controlling the Cook County property tax system. The Democrat Clerk calculates the tax rates. The Democrat Treasurer collects property tax payments and then distributes the revenue to various local taxing districts (schools, villages, park districts etc.). The Democrat Assessor determines the assessment (value) of all 1.8 million parcels of property. And the three Democrat Board of Review commissioners decide which assessment appeals warrant a reduction. This one party control is a recipe for abuse. If elected, I will be the taxpayer's "Canary in the Coal Mine" so the Chicago Democrat Machine will not be able to use the property tax system as a tool to reward their allies and punish their opponents.
As a professional trained in property valuation and as a local Township Assessor familiar with the County tax system, I will be in a position to ward off any attempts by insiders to abuse the system for personal or political gain. Under my leadership, taxpayers who make a convincing case for assessment reduction will receive the tax relief to which they are entitled. By the same token, politically connected property owners will receive no special consideration.