Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi warns many of the 1.8 million bills will be flat or higher, when he says they should lower for homeowners.
A day before real estate tax bills are to be released online, Cook County's assessor blasted the county's Board of Review, an obscure agency that Kaegi says has cut tax valuations for the county's biggest property owners by half-a-billion dollars.
The biggest losers, he says? Homeowners.
"We worked hard to shift the burden off of homeowners the last several years. And, this year, homeowners were in line to have about six percentage points less of the burden," Kaegi said.
Kaegi issued a chart showing his assessor's office had the total homeowners' share of property taxes to 46.2 percent vs. 53.8 percent for businesses. He says the board of review reversed that, so homeowners are now paying 52.8 percent of all real estate taxes; 47.2 percent for businesses.
"So that half-billion dollars that would have been sticking in the neighborhoods, staying with homeowners is instead being transferred to those big building owners, a lot of whom are from out of town and a lot of whom are foreigners," Kaegi said.
Many owners of large retail and commercial buildings complained to the board of review that the pandemic had clobbered them. One study found that as of August, fewer than half of downtown Chicago’s pre-pandemic office workers had returned, with some tenants canceling leases and moving to smaller spaces.
"We baked all that into our assessments," Kaegi said.
The bills were posted online Tuesday morning and will be mailed by Dec. 1.
Taxpayers are able to download their bill to print and mail in their payment.
Bills are due by Dec. 30.
Click here to check your property tax bill.