Ives labels property tax relief bill a stunt, not a solution
In a contentious House debate on Thursday, state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) called a bill introduced by state Rep. Michelle Mussman (D -Schaumburg) a political gimmick, comparing it to a failed initiative by former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.
HB 156 would create new property tax exemptions for longtime homeowners and people with disabilities; increase the maximum exemptions for the general homestead exemption, the senior citizens homestead exemption, and the Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral program; and change certain aspects of the veterans homestead exemption.
Ives contended that the only thing the bill does is create a disparity between those able and those unable to pay property taxes.
“What you’re doing here is akin to Gov. Quinn’s proposal to give free rides to seniors on public transportation regardless of their ability to pay," she said. "That is essentially what you’re doing with this bill. There is no determination that wealthy individuals aged 75 and older -- who have the wherewithal to pay the higher property taxes -- should be paying the higher property taxes that the middle-income folks will be paying and will be squeezed out for.”
Ives argued that Mussman’s bill only complicates the property tax problem and offered another solution: Attack the problem from all sides with insight and expertise.
“You are further distorting the property tax market when you do this,” she said. “A better solution would be for us to have a comprehensive property tax task force -- which I have already submitted in HR 139 -- that looks across the board at all types of property tax issues and comes to a resolution through expert opinion and intake, so we can have redesigned property taxes for a modern society. We should have a better ability to make it more fair and equitable across the entire state.”
Ives echoed state Rep. David Harris’ (R-Mount Prospect) comments that HB 156 would merely shift the property tax burden onto others. It doesn’t address any of the main concerns of constituents, she said.
“Your bill essentially is protecting only one certain type of property owner to the detriment of all others [and] to the detriment of commercial property owners as well,” Ives said. “When you do this … when you squeeze the bubble on one side, there is no protection for the folks who have to pay up on the other side. Your bill does not freeze property taxes, which is what we are after. It doesn’t lower property taxes, which is what we are after. It doesn’t talk about anybody’s [tax] levy and whether or not that should be frozen. Your property tax [proposal] is purely political gimmickry for classes of people.”
Ives was the lone vote against HB 156. It passed with 108 “yes” votes.
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