DuPage County Board member Tonia Khouri has never voted for a tax increase.
The 49th District candidate seeking to replace Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago), who is retiring, has something to say about the recent Illinois Policy report, “Growing out of Control: Property Taxes Putting Increasing Burden on Illinois Taxpayers.”
“Since 1990, Illinois’ residential property-tax burden (as a percentage of median household income) has risen by 76 percent,” Khouri told the DuPage Policy Journal. “This means residential property taxes in Illinois have grown 3.3 times faster than median household incomes and are now the single-largest tax in Illinois.”
The wife and mother said the problems facing Illinois residents are two-fold.
First, taxpayers are not receiving any kind of tax relief from other taxing bodies to balance the high property taxes. Second, property taxes are outpacing residents' ability to pay them.
“People are leaving this state because they simply can’t afford to live here any longer,” Khouri said.
The problem has a solution, Khouri argues.
“An initial property tax freeze should take place to give tax relief to Illinois residents,” Khouri said. “Some long-term solutions include eliminating burdensome, unfunded mandates and consolidation of local governments.”
The problem with the mass out-migration is homeowners are taking their tax dollars with them, she said.
“The average income of taxpayers who leave the state is $77,000 — $20,000 more than the taxpayers who arrive here at $57,000, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service,” Khouri said. “Mass out-migration like we’re witnessing now will have long-term effects on our economy and on our tax base.”
The time for change is now, she said.
“We need to find solutions to our ever-increasing property taxes or the taxpayers that are left in Illinois will be burdened to make up for lost revenue due to out-migration,” Khouri said. “In 2016, Illinois took in $1.3 billion less in state revenues. We need property tax relief, and we need it now.”
The 49th District covers both DuPage and Cook counties, which include South Elgin, St. Charles and Bativa.