P r o p e r t y T a x . c o m   b y    F I T Z G E R A L D   L A W   G R O U P

P R A C T I C E   L I M I T E D   T O   T H E   T A X A T I O N   O F   C O M M E R C I A L ,  I N D U S T R I A L  &  I N V E S T M E N T – G R A D E   R E A L   E S T A T E            

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Milwaukee assessments are out

MILWAUKEE — If you own  property in the City of Milwaukee, you might want to brace yourself. Property assessments get mailed out on Wednesday.

And when you slice open the envelope, you might see a bigger number than you were expecting – and that could mean a future tax increase.

A hot real estate market has values spiking across the country, and it’s the same here in Milwaukee.

It’s increasing in every city district, from a 10 percent jump on up to more than 30.

Rising Taxes, Plummeting Service

The Illinois pension crisis means that residents must pay high property levies while getting little in return.

Hilary Gowins
April 7, 2022
Economy, finance, and budgets

Patricia Hill, who grew up in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, achieved her dream of homeownership in 2003, when her family moved to the quiet Chicago suburb of Matteson. She raised two daughters in a two-story home she bought for $315,000. But by 2013, her annual property tax bill was $11,500, nearly driving her into foreclosure. By 2020, Hill had seen her annual payments lowered to $8,900 with a senior exemption, but the burden remains significant. “Everyone is in shock when I tell them the property taxes. They say it must be an error,” Hill says. It’s no error—just a byproduct of the state’s ongoing pension crisis.

Taxes have outpaced earnings for many homeowners here. While property taxes in Cook County jumped 99 percent between 2000 and 2019, wages in Cook County rose 57 percent during that period. Hill saw an increase in her home value during Covid, but housing prices in Illinois grew 11.4 percent in 2021 compared with an 18.4 percent average in other states. And throughout the pandemic, tax collections continued to rise: Cook County billed an extra $534 million in property taxes in 2021 despite federal relief.

The increased tax burden yields underfunded pensions, not better government service. Illinois’ pension crisis both occupies a growing share of state and local budgets and represents a $75 billion debt hole for local governments—which officials often fill with property tax increases. Each Matteson household owes nearly $16,000 in local pension debt, a tab that jumps to over $45,000 per household with state pension debt. These costs mean less money for roads and schools while driving residents to leave the state. Last year, Illinois recorded its eighth consecutive year of population decline, losing a record 113,776 residentsfrom July 2020 to July 2021, according to Census Bureau estimates.

For a closer look at the relationship between public pensions and property-tax growth, consider Chicago. In 2022, Chicago’s pension costs make up more than $2.3 billion of the city’s budget, or 21.4 percent of the city’s own source revenue. That’s more than the city’s entire property-tax levy of $1.7 billion this year. Yet residents get little for their money. Chicago recently ranked 141 out of 150 citiesfor municipal service quality. That’s no surprise: over the past decade, pension spending in Chicago increased 239 percent, while spending for city services increased only18 percent.

Public pension reform received bipartisan support in the Illinois general assembly as recently as 2013, but because of a ruling by the state supreme court, the only way to achieve meaningful pension reform for state and local governments is through a constitutional amendment. Reforms could save roughly $2.4 billion in the first year and more than $50 billion through 2045, while eliminating the state’s pension debt (rather than the 90 percent reduction state leaders aim for). Indeed, a “hold harmless” plan would preserve every dollar of pension benefits promised to public workers for work already performed. Similar reforms to local pension systems could offer significant property tax relief to overburdened homeowners and free up resources for spending on current services.

Hill is not giving up and doesn’t plan to move. But she has spent many sleepless nights worrying over her massive property tax bill. “This is supposed to be the American Dream for me and my family,” she said. “I’m holding on to everything I can, but I’m losing because of this house.” She and other state residents shouldn’t have to pay for their government’s irresponsibility.

Sexual Harassment – Defined, Prevention, Legal Remedies

MANDATORY  SEXUAL  HARASSMENT  TRAINING

 

Please mark your calendar for a FREE webinar hosted by the WPTA:

April 14, 2022

Noon-1:00 p.m.

Register for GoToWebinar HERE
*Please note that the only guaranteed viewing is the livestream. Register today!
If you are an Illinois employer, as of 2020, you are required to train your employees on sexual harassment annually under the Workplace Transparency Act(“WTA”). This undertaking can be costly and time-consuming for employers, and the Women’s Property Tax Association has engaged Gail Schnitzer Eisenberg, an employee’s civil rights attorney, to bring you free training for your employees. Additionally, we will be seeking MCLE ethics credit for all Illinois attorneys who attend and are hopeful that this will fulfill a portion of your professionalism credits required.
The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) has developed a Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Program to help Illinois employers comply with the Workplace Transparency Act. Gail Schnitzer Eisenberg, an employee’s civil rights attorney, will provide a live webinar training and answer participant questions. The training will include:
  1. An explanation of sexual harassment consistent with the IHRA;
  2. Examples of conduct that constitutes unlawful sexual harassment;
  3. A summary of relevant federal and State statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, including remedies available to victims of sexual harassment; and
  4. A summary of responsibilities of employers in the prevention, investigation, and corrective measures of sexual harassment; and
  5. Provide all participants with a certificate they can print, sign, and give to their employers who can keep on file to prove they are in compliance with the WTA.
On April 14, 2022, serve lunch in your conference room and have your employees watch our free sexual harassment training.Anyone who is an employee should share this email with their employer. This training is not specific to the property tax industry and can be used by all Illinois employers (except restaurant and bar owners who have additional requirements).
This meeting is expected to run for approximately 1 hour, and the WPTA will be seeking approval to issue CLE ethics credit for any Illinois attorney that watches a live-stream of the program and completes the survey immediately following. Attorneys seeking CLE credit must register individually, watch the live broadcast and complete the survey under their own registration. If approved by the MCLE Board, CLE credit will not be issued if this criteria is not met.
All are welcome to view!
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