Monday, March 18, 2013

Regional Mayors push for property tax relief in Springfield


Regional Mayors push for property tax relief in Springfield

Several local mayors are urging the Illinois General Assembly this week to increase the amount of savings for the Homeowner and Senior Exemptions by extending the 7 Percent Homeowners Exemption which is set to end.

The mayors include Summit Mayor Joseph Strzelczyk, Lyons Mayor Chris Getty and Bridgeview Mayor and State Sen. Steven Landek.

The proposal is intended to reduce the impact caused by the termination or “sunset” sunset of the “7 Percent Expanded Homeowner Exemption,” which was originally designed to provide relief from rising home values before the economic downturn.  

“Homeowners will continue to automatically receive benefits from the standard Homeowners Exemption, but they will see a reduction if the 7 Percent savings is allowed to end without action from the legislature,” Mayor Strzelczyk said.

Lyons Mayor Christ Getty agreed, saying that immediate action is needed.

“The legislature needs to act on this and protect the exemptions that homeowners have to off-set the problems that have hurt the home market. We have too many situations where property values have dropped while taxes have remained the same. Losing this exemption supplement would be disastrous,” Getty said.


Senate Bill 1894 is being sponsored by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-40). The bill would then move to the House, where a similar bill (HB2928) is being sponsored by Representative Michael Zalewski (D-23rd), whose district covers the northern half of the Town of Cicero.

Bridgeview Mayor and State Sen. Steven Landek said he supports the measure.

“This is an important exemption that homeowners, especially in today’s economy, cannot lose,” Landek said.

Strzelczyk said he hopes the legislature will act in time to “so that the new exemption amounts can be calculated prior to the mailing of second-installment tax bills.” 

Under the proposed bill, the standard Homeowner Exemption would be increased from $6,000 to $7,000. The Senior Exemption amount would rise from $4,000 to $5,000.  Projections show that these increases in exemption savings may potentially save taxpayers several additional hundreds of dollars on their second-installment tax bills. 

“I believe it is important for the state to keep up with the rising cost of living by increasing tax relief measures for Illinoisans, especially seniors living on fixed incomes,” Representative Zalewski said.  “All seniors who qualify for these exemptions, along with homeowners who continue to feel the effects of a sluggish economy, should take full advantage of these exemptions. 

The sunset of the 7% provision could not come at a worse time for seniors and other vulnerable homeowners.  “This bill will provide much needed relief during these difficult economic times," Senator Hutchison said. 

Homeowners in the north and south suburbs will see the increases in 2014 and 2015 respectively, the year in which the 7 percent provision expires for each particular triennial district. 

“The bill has to be passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn by mid-April in order for the savings to be reflected on second-installment bills being mailed this summer,” 

The 7 Percent Expanded Homeowner's Exemption was introduced in 2003 and adopted by the legislature in July 2004.

Contact information for local elected officials may be found at www.ilga.gov. 

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