Second Installment Cook County Tax Bills are higher than 2007’s. Why are you surprised?

Tax Bills 001


Your Guide sees that the post on Cook County Tax Bills arriving in tax-payers’ mail boxes is the most popular post here at YWCG this week and last.  Emails and comments all seem to be along the same lines:

How in the world did my tax bills go up?

There are a lot of articles out there published by experts on taxation in Cook County.  And all of them offer great insight.  But the answer is stunningly simple.  Let me share this with you:

Cook County figures out how much money they want to spend FIRST.  And then they figure out your bill.

The rest of the complicated math you find on your bill is just smoke and mirrors to hide how complicated the formulas are that divide up everyone’s share.  Other factors that contribute to what your tax bill added up to include:

  • There is an eternal struggle between commercial property owners and residential property owners – shifting the burden back and forth between the factions over the years.  Strong leadership representing residential property owners introduced an assessment cap several years ago.  That shifted more taxes onto commercial property owners.
  • Support for that property tax cap waned a couple years ago.  The assessment cap is expiring.  And now residential tax bills are going up while commercial property owners are getting a break.
  • Even though your residential property is probably worth LESS right now, your tax bill is for LAST year.  And that was before property values started falling.  Next year your tax bill MIGHT be lower.  Caveat:  The highlighted rule above.  If the County wants to SPEND more, you’re going to PAY more.