Ives links property tax troubles to school funding issue
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is pushing for an Illinois Department of Revenue investigation of property tax assessments and charges against any county assessor found to be in violation of assessment and valuation laws.
“This investigation is necessary because of all the growing reports of tax districts not doing their jobs of reassessing every four years, in violation of state law,” Ives told the DuPage Policy Journal. “For all assessors found to be in willful violation, I think we should be looking at prosecution.
Illinois is saddled with some of the highest property taxes in the country, and state lawmakers are grappling with how best to distribute nearly $7 billion in state tax dollars earmarked for K-12 schools.
The current state school funding formula is largely based on community property wealth, with the poorest districts among the state’s 102 counties receiving a bigger share of the funding.
Ives argues that counties that don't conduct proper assessments are taking advantage of other school counties by snaring more school funding dollars than they are entitled to.
“Until we are sure that this is being done properly and fairly in all 102 counties, there’s reason to be concerned,” she said.
Besides some assessors not following the letter-of-the-law in conducting re-assessments on a regular schedule, Ives attributes some erroneous property valuations to inadequate staffing, improper training and a lack of technological training.
Ives has argued that fixing the school funding formula goes hand in hand with remedying the assessment system.
“We will continue to have school funding issues until we deal with this as a whole,” she said.
In February, Ives filed HR 139, which would establish a task force to probe all tax assessment system issues, including assessor qualifications and the use of tax increment financing districts.
More than six months later, the bill remains in the Democrat-controlled House Rules Committee.