Patlak to explain property tax appeal procedures in Schaumburg
Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak will join township of Schaumburg Assessor John Lawson, Cook County Commissioner Timothy Schneider and other Schaumburg officials at a property tax assessment appeal seminar.
The free seminar will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 at the township of Schaumburg Office, 1 Illinois Blvd., Hoffman Estates.
Patlak's presentation will explain the appeal procedure at the Board of Review. Schaumburg, Jefferson and Niles homeowners can appeal their new property tax assessments through Feb. 1. Attendees should bring their latest tax bill to the seminar, where there will be an opportunity to discuss the tax bill with the staff of the Board of Review and Schaumburg Assessors Office.
Patlak and his colleagues will educate taxpayers on tax appeals and explain why property taxes go up although the value of the home has dropped. Property taxes in Illinois continue to rise while homeowners struggle. In some cases, the taxes have risen to rates higher than the mortgage payment. Taxpayers can appeal the assessed value of the property, which takes effect on the second installment of the 2016 tax bill.
While homeowners struggle to pay their property taxes, the legislature has no reason to encourage property tax freezes or reduce the unfunded mandates that drive local taxes up. House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) owns a law firm that specializes in property tax appeals and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) is a member of a law firm that handles property tax law as well as other legal issues. To reform property taxes by eliminating unfunded mandates that drive taxes up or to implement property tax freezes would interfere with the moneymaking ability of Madigan, Cullerton and other tax appeal professionals in Cook County.
The Chicago Sun-Times revealed in 2014 that Madigan's firm represented Mesirow Financial Services between 2010 and 2014 in its tax valuation appeals. Each year the Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios assessed the Mesirow River North headquarters at approximately $330 million. Madigan's firm contested the valuation and saved Mesirow $5 million each year. Reporter Tim Novak also revealed that Mesirow not only manages $300 million in state pension funds, but Madigan's son is an employee.
As Illinois Policy Institute Senior Writer Austin Berg pointed out in a 2015 article, "[E]lected officials should not be permitted to sell their services in property-tax law. To anyone outside Illinois’ political machine, this is a clear conflict of interest that has gone untouched for too long."
Although Illinois' political machine is unlikely to change the way properties are valued or allow property tax freezes, Patlak continues to attend and assist taxpayers at tax assessment appeal seminars. Up to 66 percent of tax assessments in Cook County are successfully appealed every year. The process is cumbersome, but with the guidance of the Township Assessor and Commissioners, the average homeowner can also successfully appeal a property assessment and reduce the property taxes.
Patlak brings more than 17 years of experience in property assessment and appeals reviews to the seminar. He was a real estate broker from 1986-95 and was a volunteer coordinator for Citizens Against Government Waste from 1992-94. He organized "Taxpayer Action Day Rallies" to bring attention to government spending.
Patlak served as a property assessment appeal analyst at the Cook County Board of Review between 1999 and 2006. In 2005, he was elected assessor of Wheeling Township, where he served until 2010. He ran and defeated the incumbent commissioner at the Board of Review in 2010, the first Republican win against a sitting Democrat in Cook County in 15 years. He has served as a full-time commissioner since.