2 years ago by Bob Gough
When the state isn't sharing its revenues with the local governments, local governments have to find revenue elsewhere or make cuts
Statewide, 2010 property tax levies were up nearly $4.8 billion above 2005 figures.
“I know Illinois is in trouble financially and there's been a lot of talk about restraint, but a $5 billion increase doesn't sound like restraint,” said Don Boyd, co-executive director of the New York-based State Budget Crisis Task Force that recently produced a report on Illinois' ongoing financial struggles.
A Daily Herald analysis of Illinois Department of Revenue reports from 2010 and 2005 shows that 300 suburban school districts in six counties plus Chicago Public Schools accounted for most of the property tax increase. The school districts levied $2.2 billion more in 2010 than they received in 2005, with Cook County's 152 school districts responsible for more than $1 billion of the increase.
The state's reports show Chicago and suburban municipalities increased property taxes by nearly $800 million over the same time period. Townships collected $60 million more, while the six county governments combined to increase their collective levy by almost $90 million more than 2005's take. Libraries, parks, fire districts and other specialty taxing agencies increased taxes by more than $365 million in 2010.
Most tax experts point to rising pension obligations and contractually mandated personnel costs as the chief cause for the property tax levy hikes.