Cook County Taxes Set to Soar

By Andrew Greiner
|  Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009  |  Updated 5:38 PM CDT
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Property taxes are no game.

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It's getting more and more expensive to live in Chicago. Especially if you own a house.

Median property taxes are expected to increase by up to 46 percent in some Chicago neighborhoods, the Chicago Tribune reports, citing statistics from Cook County Assessor James Houlihan.

The suburbs will also feel the sting with some Chicago area towns expecting median increases of 20 percent.

"It's a disgrace.  How can we pay that kind of money when we don't even have money coming in? We try to keep our property up, try to keep our homes going, a roof over our heads, and they're steadily going up.  So I guess they want everybody to be homeless," said West Garfield Park homeowner LaSandra Smith.

Houlihan told the Tribune that much of the blame for the increases can be pinned on lawmakers in Springfield, who in 2004 imposed caps on runaway tax assessments during the real estate boom but then three years later voted to gradually do away with the protections.

"Foes of caps argued that they served to shift a heavier property tax burden onto owners of industrial and commercial property and would drive away business from the county if made permanent," the Tribune reports.

Mayor Daley is not happy about the steep increases. He blames Houlihan, a 12-year veteran of the office who is not seeking reelection, for leaving vacant buildings on the tax rolls.  

"I want to ask him how he does it. That's the whole issue. You go to any area of the city. You go to Englewood. They (property taxes) have gone up in Englewood. They've gone up every place. And values are down. Everybody knows that," Daley said.

He said he will offer some relief to those who make less than $200,000 a year, but didn't elaborate.  

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