Dec 1, 2022 - Real Estate

Why Chicago's property tax bills are so high

Change in total property taxes, by ward
Source: Cook County Treasurer; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

The Cook County Treasurer's Office released a scathing report this morning explaining why property tax bills have gone through the roof.

Why it matters: The report says Chicago homeowners' median tax bill went up nearly 8% since 2020.

The intrigue: In stark contrast to Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi's promise during election season, most residential properties saw tax increases — while most commercial properties saw decreases.

  • The Assessor's Office blamed the higher tax bills on reversals at the Cook County Board of Review in a report.
  • Another factor, according to the report, could be that Kaegi erroneously assessed properties lower during the pandemic when home values actually rose, leading to higher reassessments by the Board of Review.

By the numbers: In the city alone, taxes went up by about $468 million with homeowners picking up about 60% of it.

  • CPS raised its tax levy by $114 million, the city received a new $94 million, and an extra $141 million went into Tax Increment Financing districts (TIFs).

What's more: Taxpayers are also paying more under a new law allowing local governments to "recapture" from the public any money it refunded to property owners who won appeals.

  • The law, being called "an annual tax increase" by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, added $131 million to bills across the county this year.

Zoom in: Gentrifying Latino areas, including Hermosa and Avondale, were some of the hardest hit.

  • Taxes in the area around Pilsen surged 45%.
  • North Side lakefront neighborhoods saw taxes rise at a faster pace than elsewhere in the city.

Yes, but: Many Black neighborhoods on the South and West sides saw their residential property tax bills drop dramatically, some by as much as 55%.

  • "There are still inequities in our property tax system and we need to straighten it out,” Pappas said in a press release.
Source: Cook County Treasurer
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