Grant on Property Taxes

Property owners in DuPage and Will Counties pay some of the highest property taxes in the entire country. Since his election to the General Assembly, Grant Wehrli has authored or co-sponsored dozens of property tax relief bills. In fact, each year, property tax relief bills represent the centerpiece of his legislative agenda.

Property tax relief bills are routinely blocked by the Democrats who control the flow of bills in Springfield. Every year good bills that would provide over-stressed property taxpayers with meaningful relief are shelved. It’s the reason why, in a nation-wide study of property taxes, WalletHub found that Illinois’ property taxes are the second highest in the nation, behind only New Jersey.

Property Tax Reform Headlines House Republican 2020 Agenda

On the first day of the 2020 session year, Grant Wehrli participated in a press conference where House Republican legislative goals for the year were outlined for the Springfield press corps. The top priority for this year? Property Tax Reform, and how the the sky-high burden that is driving people out of their homes and out of the state can be reformed to create a fairer system. 

Here is a list of Grant Wehrli’s bills for the current 101st General Assembly that address the issue of property taxes:

HB 360
Provides a method for dissolving DuPage County Townships
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 4702
Amends the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to include tax-reducing measures
Never assigned for a hearing

HB 5043
Provides a mechanism for property tax abatement
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5425
Amends PTELL to control tax increases
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5426
Provides for property tax abatement
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5427
Limits the ability for units of local government to increase property taxes
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5429
Requires Illinois to examine the tax policies of tax-friendly states
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5430
Establishes a tax credit for seniors and disabled people
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5432
Creates a first-time homeowner tax exemption
Never assigned for a hearing

HB 5435
Prevents local governments from automatically renewing available debt service
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5437
Makes the senior citizen assessment freeze permanent for those who apply and qualify
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5438
Increases the amount seniors receive through the senior citizen homestead exemption and senior assessment freeze
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

HB 5439
Creates the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Task Force to study the issue and recommend improvements
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

SB 1043
Amends PTELL to limit tax increases
Stuck in Madigan’s Rules Committee

In addition to the above bills, where Grant Wehrli serves as the Chief House Sponsor or Chief Co-Sponsor, he serves as a sponsor of dozens of other property tax relief bills in this current 101st GA.

Illinois’ History of Failed Property Tax Reform Task Forces

More than 56,000 Illinoisans left Illinois in 2019, and over the last decade more people left Illinois than any other state. Crippling property taxes were a primary driver of this out-migration.

Dozens of property tax relief bills were ignored during the 101st General Assembly. Rather than taking bold action to address this growing burden, the majority party instead decided to create a task force to study the issue. Grant Wehrli was among the House Republicans asked to serve on the bipartisan and bicameral Property Tax Relief Task Force that was created through SB 1932. Because taxpayers in DuPage and Will Counties are completely overburdened by the combined weight of the taxing bodies that levy taxes against their property values, Grant was pleased to serve and be a part of the conversation. The task force was charged with providing short and long-term legislative solutions. The group had an interim report due by October 31, 2019, and a final report due by December 31, 2019.

The Democrat co-chairs of the task force missed both deadlines and never called the committee together to create an interim or final report, and task force members were never called together to approve them. Sadly, the 2019 Property Tax Relief Task force was one more in a long list of failed task forces. 

All the property tax relief task forces listed below failed to bring forward policy recommendations:

1982
The Task Force Commission
No actionable reforms brought forward

1995
The Equity 95 Property Tax Classification Task Force
No actionable reforms brought forward

1997
The Electric Utility Property Assessment Task Force
No actionable reforms brought forward

1998
The Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on Property Taxes
No actionable reforms brought forward

2004
The Property Tax Task Force (through HR 917)
No actionable reforms brought forward

2008
House Revenue & Finance Committee’s mandate to investigate ways to improve property tax assessment practices (through HR 527)
No actionable reforms brought forward

2009
The Property Tax Reform and Relief Task Force
No actionable reforms brought forward

2018
The Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District Reform Task Force
No actionable reforms brought forward

2019
The Bipartisan and Bicameral Property Tax Relief Task Force
No actionable reforms brought forward

Help Grant Continue Standing Up for Property Tax Reform

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Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay