Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

New Site Shows Higher Taxes for Cook County Residents




    Cook County administrators debuted a new website Wednesday that lets Cook County residents view their tax bills online for the first time ever.

    What they'll find is higher taxes.

    New Website Offers Glimpse of a Community's Debt

    [CHI] New Website Offers Glimpse of a Community's Debt
    Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas has some advice for anyone looking to buy a house: check the community's level of debt. A new website reveals everything from the amount of overtime paid to public employees to whether their pensions are funded. Mary Ann Ahern explains. (Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012)

    County property taxes rose 48 percent in the past 10 years, twice the rate of inflation, Treasurer Maria Pappas noted as she debuted CookCountyPropertyInfo.com. Taxes rose from $7.88 billion in 2000 to $11.69 billion in 2010. The new site shows where that cash is being spent.

    Pappas said the known collective debt of Cook County governments is up to $140 billion, a $32 billion increase from 2010. 

    “As the taxing agencies report more fully and accurately, the dimensions of their debt gets clearer,” she said in a statement.

    The new site not only displays outstanding debt, which shows an average of $87,720 for Chicago households and $35,774 for suburban ones, but it also includes pension money owed.

    “For the first time, taxpayers will be able to see where their money goes and how much their governments owe with this sort of ease,” President Toni Preckwinkle said. “Putting this information in the hands of residents further strengthens the relationship between government and the people it serves."