Property tax increases explained

By: Diane Benjamin

Why are many local governments holding tax hearings? Here’s the legal reason:

(35 ILCS 200/18-56)
    Sec. 18-56. Legislative purpose. The purpose of this Law is to require taxing districts to disclose by publication and to hold a public hearing on their intention to adopt an aggregate levy in amounts more than 105% of the amount of property taxes extended or estimated to be extended, including any amount abated by the taxing district prior to such extension, upon the final aggregate levy of the preceding year.

What that means is in 2023 each unit of government holding a hearing wants collect more than 105% of what they collected in 2022.

These local governments do not set the TAX RATE, the Assessor does. The local governments set the tax levy meaning they say how much money they want in property taxes.

If that amount is more than 105% of what they wanted last year they have to hold a Tax Hearing. They can say they aren’t raising the Tax Rate because they aren’t. Their actions can result in the Assessor raising the tax rate, so it’s really semantics.

Here’s where it gets difficult to say what’s really happening:

The Assessor sends out notices every year to all property owners stating what the value of the property is for property tax purposes. Some people challenge the value, most don’t.

The Assessor then tells local governments the total assessed value they can tap into for property taxes: EAV – Equalized Assessed Value. Keep in mind 2022 EAV reflects the 2021 value. New construction won’t be fully in the EAV until next year since construction wasn’t completed for a full year until 2022.

Confused yet? You are supposed to be.

Next each unit of government decides how much money they want from property taxes. If they decide to collect the same dollar amount as last year the tax rate can actually decrease. Your taxes won’t decrease however because the value of your property probably increased. Some property tax bills could decrease while others dramatically increase. If you don’t challenge excessive increases to your EAV when the Assessor notifies you, you lose.

All these tax hearings are happening because local units of government want more the 105% of what they collected last year. It is impossible to know yet if the growth in total EAV was created by new construction, rising property values due to the housing shortage, or a combination of both.

One thing is clear: Governments think you are piggy bank. Being fiscally responsible isn’t part of the plan, hiding where they aren’t is.

The actual tax rates won’t be set until each government sets the levy they want. Illinois already has ridiculous property taxes. You can leave the state as many have or start saving now for the fleece next spring. Government never has enough money. These local governments know if tax rates are going to increase based on what they levy. Since they don’t set the rate they use semantics as cover.

Local elections are next April. Few people bother to be informed and actually vote. If they knew these offices steal far more money than Illinois or the Feds do maybe they would actually vote.

Nothing will change until the PEOPLE change.

Not just the elected people – the voters who don’t show up.




3 thoughts on “Property tax increases explained

  1. If you noticed. Bloomington Staff kept saying this was because of “expansion” of the tax base. Yet couldn’t say how much new construction there was, yet then pulled a number of 90 out of their hats. Where did the 90 magically come from? How come NO council members asked. Also with over 10,000 parcials in Bloomington 90 is less than .09%. Not 9%. Not .9%. POINT ZERO NINE… .09% Think about that. .09% and that brings in that much additional in taxes? The sad thing is people are stupid to fall for it. WAKE UP. The recently passed Give Unions the Power Law is going to force cities, towns, villages(what is Normal today? how do they identify?) to raise taxes more. Illinois doesn’t just want to be Number 1 in taxes, Illinois wants to win by a landslide! #1, #1, #1

  2. Ford county has some major issues with how they assessed property. McLean County and assessor process and systems are terrible at disputes and ignores facts. And taxpayers are prey.

  3. Thank you again Diane for looking up rules and such that most of us are too busy/lazy to!
    So the large number of recent tax-related meeting is really just Biden economics. If inflation is 7+ percent, school boards seeking to keep up with inflation are mandated to have these meetings.
    On the off chance any public schools were already being run efficiently to educate our kids without pushing political agendas, that would actually be fine. But given that most households’ real wages are not keeping up with inflation at this point, schools should be looking more at belt-tightening, or at a minimum educating the public about sources of inflation, consequences of elections etc.
    As you repeatedly say – April is the time to elect some Public Servants that will treat us like People, not piggy banks…

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