Bernas hopes to turn homeownership nightmare back to a dream
Jillian Bernas said the dream of homeownership has become a nightmare in Illinois.
Responding to the Illinois Policy report “Rising property tax burdens squeeze Illinois families,” the Republican House candidate, who garnered 44.7 percent of the vote in 2016 when she ran against Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg), told the North Cook News that though individuals are told to pursue homeownership, the notion has become frightening as returns on investment in home equity are eaten away by property taxes.
“Property taxes have skyrocketed over time because it does not matter what families can pay, but how much local government entities are permitted to raise taxes,” Bernas said. “Currently, property taxes have grown six times faster than household incomes according to U.S. Census Bureau data.”
The international relations manager seeking to serve the 56th District, which includes Schaumburg, Hanover Park, Roselle and Elk Grove Village, said she plans to make the dream possible again for families by supporting a 1 percent cap on property taxes if elected to Springfield.
“This would help bring certainty and stability to homeowners and help middle-class families dealing with stagnant incomes,” Bernas said.
Bernas said she believes there needs to be a 1 percent cap on property taxes as a percentage of home value so property tax is a function of a family’s return on their most important investment and not an arbitrary amount that continues to grow 5 percent, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.
This is not a priority for her March GOP primary opponent, she said.
“My opponent Char Kegarise has been on the local elementary school board since I was in elementary school and families have always seen their property tax bill increase,” Bernas said. “Local taxing boards cannot increase the tax levy more than 5 percent of the previous year’s levy and tell you that works for families.”
She said Kegarise will continue to say the tax levy works.
“The truth is it doesn’t, especially when that means tax levies will continue to increase regardless of what families in the district can pay,” Bernas said. “Like Kegarise, my general election opponent Michelle Mussman thinks that a property tax freeze is the answer.”
She said Mussman’s support of eighteen failed bills show her support of a freeze is either a farce or she is an ineffective leader.
“Just freezing property taxes doesn’t bring relief to families that are considering leaving the state weighed down by the highest tax burden in the nation,” Bernas said. “Real reform like a 1 percent property tax cap is needed, and I am going to Springfield to work on this important reform.”