Chicago Tribune and Crain's Chicago Business Endorse Property Tax Reform Bill

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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In separate editorials, the editorial boards of the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business endorsed SB 1379, a significant legislative property tax reform effort led by Senator Toi Hutchinson and Assistant Majority Leader Will Davis and supported by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi.

SB 1379, the Data Modernization Bill, would give the Cook County Assessor’s Office the ability to collect operating income and expense data for income-generating, commercial properties. Collecting income and expense data up front?—?on an anonymized and bulk basis—would bring Cook County (and other counties in Illinois who choose to opt-in to this practice) in line with professional practices used by assessors in at least 17 other states.

“The Tribune and Crain’s editorial boards understand the need for reform of our current system and we’re glad to have their support,” said Assessor Kaegi. “More transparency in assessments means less uncertainty for real estate market participants who want to invest in Chicago and Cook County.”

Published last week, the two endorsements solidify the broad support for this common sense legislation. Previously announced supporters of SB 1379 include Brookfield Properties’ Retail Group (owner of Water Tower Place), International Council of Shopping Centers and BMO Harris Bank as well as county and township assessors across the state, AFSCME 31, the Chicago Teachers Union, South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association and Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot.

In supporting the bill, the Chicago Tribune Editorial board said SB 1379 would “bring more transparency and predictability to the process...building trust with taxpayers is vital. Kaegi’s bill in Springfield would help.”

For its part, Crain’s Chicago Business’s Editorial Board said valuations resulting from the bill will “deliver more certainty, not less, providing predictability for investors, borrowers, landlords, tenants and the taxing bodies that rely on them.”

Crain’s went on to say “It's hard to argue for the previous clouted-up status quo and against a clear-eyed system that bases valuations on actual data over the long haul.”

A House Revenue Committee vote on the bill is expected in the coming days.


Chicago Tribune editorial:

Crain’s Chicago Business editorial:

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