Research shows that the concerns of Cook County, Illinois residents who have long felt as if their property tax bills were increasing exponentially in comparison with their other expenses have merit. A 2020 study conducted by the county treasurer’s office reveals that property tax rates have risen sharply over the past 20 years, while costs of living have not increased by anywhere near as much.
Per the Chicago Tribune, the annual amount billed by the county in property taxes increased by 99% over the past 20 years. Yet, regional costs of living increased by just 31% within this same span. Also, wages have only increased by about 57% within this same period.
Chicago-specific property tax rate increases
High property taxes are problematic countywide. However, the problem is particularly severe in Chicago. Within the city, property tax rates rose 115% of that same 20-year span, while property tax rates in the surrounding suburbs increased by an average of 87% within the same period.
Homeowner-specific property tax rate increases
The treasurer’s office study also revealed that county homeowners are bearing the brunt of the property tax burden. Homeowners across Cook County watched their residential property tax bills rise 164% over the past 20 years, while commercial property owners saw their property tax rates rise by 81%.
Also worth noting is the fact that, 20 years ago, Chicago business owners bore the brunt, or 59%, of the city’s property tax burden. Now, it is homeowners who do so, with homeowners now paying more than half of the city’s $7 billion property tax debt.
In Illinois, property taxes are a key source of funding for education. However, concerns continue to grow about gentrification, slowing home sales and other issues related to the state’s high property taxes.