Jan 3, 2023 - Politics

Scoop: Cook County property tax payments pushed to April

Illustration of a welcome mat that is a one-hundred dollar bill.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Cook County property owners won't have to pay their next tax bills until April 3, treasurer Maria Pappas' office tells Axios.

Why it matters: The final bill payments for 2021 were due last Friday and a regular schedule for 2022 payments would have required the next installment be paid on March 1 — a huge burden on county residents.

What they're saying: "The Treasurer believes pushing back the deadline was the right thing to do in order to give taxpayers some breathing room after second-installment bills were late this year," a spokesperson for Pappas' office tells Axios.

  • "People need time to pay," Pappas says. "You just dealt with the assessor's outrageous assessment and people need some relief."

Context: Many homeowners were already angry at high tax increases in the last bill, which prompted Pilsen residents to march to the Cook County Building last week in protest.

  • Historically Latino neighborhoods that have seen gentrification in recent years were hardest hit. The lower West Side community area, which includes Pilsen, saw median taxes rise by 46%.
  • Protesters want Pappas to waive late fees for 2021 tax payments, as well as a 25% cap on yearly tax increases.

Yes, but: Both late fees and yearly tax increases are state legislature issues, not directly controlled by Pappas.

  • Pappas' office says she can't waive late fees, but wants to work with state lawmakers to reduce them from 18% a year to 9%, as proposed in a 2022 report.

Between the lines: Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi's office blames the high residential burden on the Board of Review. He says it reversed his initial work to relieve residents by giving breaks to downtown commercial landlords after they appealed their taxes.

  • "Assessor Kaegi is examining the reductions made by the Board of Review to determine what changes should be made for 2022 so residents of Pilsen, Little Village, and the City of Chicago are not bearing more of the burden of property taxes than they should," Scott Smith, Kaegi's chief of staff, tells Axios.

Editor's note: This story was updated with additional information. It was also corrected to note that the entire West Side community area saw median taxes rise by 46%, not just Pilsen.

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