Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) said a bill promising property tax relief won't do enough to makeover the state's burdensome system.
Ives was the only legislator to vote against the bill. In an interview on a recent broadcast of radio show "Illinois Rising," she stood by her decision. The bill passed 108-1.
“I read the bill completely right,” Ives said. “It doesn’t provide the property tax relief people think it does.”
Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)
"Illinois Rising" co-host Dan Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
HB 156, authored by Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg), would provide additional exemptions for seniors, military personnel, and long-time homeowners in Illinois. These exemptions would allow for military spouses to receive exemptions, as well. Ives said if a military veteran has died, his or her spouse would still receive tax exemptions.
The bill would raise the standard exemption for eligible households from $7,000 to $8,000. For homeowners over 65 years old, the bills would raise the exemption to $6,000 per year. The bill also adds an exemption of $2,500 per year for disabled veterans and homeowners who are over 75 years old.
Properties that aren't exempt include commercial properties and rental homes, as well as homeowners in suburbs whose houses are valued at $300,000 or more would pay more in taxes.
The Illinois Policy Institute has said the bill — touted as a "comprehensive tax relief package" — is nothing more than "a campaign gimmick."
"HB 156 does nothing to stop the overly burdensome growth in Illinois property tax bills, even for seniors and veterans," the institute said. "It simply shifts more of the property tax burden on property owners who do not receive an exemption, The bill also fails to address the cost drivers pushing taxes higher and squeezing working-class workers and seniors out of their homes in the first place."
Ives said two other House members asked oppositional questions while the bill was up for debate on the House floor but they ended up voting in favor of it.
Ives said she supports exemptions for seniors, military personnel, and others, but that this type of bill wouldn’t fix the current issues. Democrats, and specifically Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, said the bill offers relief to those who need it most.
“This reduces taxes for certain real estate taxpayers, mainly small homeowners,” Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan told WGN News. “It's targeted tax relief to real estate taxpayers that are in need of help.”
But in reality, Ives said the bill isn't means tested, so it wouldn't base eligibility on a household's income, leaving it open to even the wealthiest homeowners.
Madigan, after being in office for decades, has stood by while taxes have climbed, and Ives said she expects them to keep climbing.
“The tax foundation said in every year since 1975, taxing districts have collected more money than the previous years with the exception of 1979,” she said.