Rep. McSweeney: It’s time to cut Illinois property taxes by 10 percent

Property taxes are hurting Illinois families and each day that goes by without tax relief, the worse this problem becomes. Everywhere that I go in my district, people tell me that high property taxes are forcing them to think about leaving the state. We have to stop the exodus from Illinois.

We not only need to freeze property tax levies, we need to cut them. Taxpayers simply cannot afford to pay ever-escalating property taxes.

My constituents are also worried about the massive tax increase being considered by the Illinois State Senate that liberal Democrats and some Republicans are promoting. The Senate tax increase bill would increase both the personal and corporate income tax rates by 33% and impose a massive new job-killing tax on small businesses. In Springfield and at the local level, we need to cut spending – not raise taxes!

Recently, I filed House Bill 1768, which would require most units of government to cut property tax levies by 10 percent over two years and then permanently freeze property tax levies at the reduced level. School districts and community colleges would be immediately required to permanently freeze their property tax levies. The only way that property taxes could be increased is by a local voter referendum.

I also strongly support efforts to reduce unfunded mandates on all local governments.

The relief Illinois residents need is an immediate reduction in property taxes. Only with reduced property taxes can we begin to stop people from leaving Illinois.  

Talk is cheap. The time for action is now.

The solution has been in front of us for several years. I have fought for property tax relief since I’ve been in Springfield. Earlier this year, the House approved a permanent property tax freeze bill (HB 6630). I was a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill. That legislation received 76 votes in the House.

In the House, I have voted more than 20 times in recent years to permanently freeze property tax levies. The House has consistently supported property tax freeze legislation over the past two years.

We do not need to keep debating the issue and defining the problem. Property tax rates are hurting working families and our senior citizens. They need relief – it is really that simple.

We know from a CoreLogic report released last year that Illinois now has the highest property taxes in the country. We also know that Illinois lost nearly 115,000 people from July 2015 to July 2016, in large part due to escalating property taxes here in Illinois.

The longer we delay action on solving the high property tax issue in Illinois, the more people are going to leave. I hear all of the time from my constituents that they simply cannot afford to keep paying their out-of-control property taxes. The current course of action is not sustainable.

The Legislature cannot continue to ignore the negative impact of rising property taxes on our state. The time has come for both legislative chambers to send a property tax reduction bill to the governor and for him to sign it into law. We have debated the issues long enough. What taxpayers need is action, not more talk.

Illinois needs to lower property tax rates now!

• Rep. David McSweeney serves Illinois’ 52nd House District.

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