We must pay attention to regressive taxation in Chicago – Chicago Tribune

We must pay attention to regressive taxation in Chicago – Chicago Tribune
We must pay attention to regressive taxation in Chicago – Chicago Tribune

I am a white middle class homeowner who has lived in a gentrifying Chicago community for 15 years. I detect little concern about my family’s tax situation in news reports. We have money, so we have to pay. Of course we do, but can we expect an end to large increases or are we just at the beginning?

Our property taxes have increased by 107% over five years. We now pay 45% more in tax than the previous three-year average. The assessed value of our home is 37% higher than in 2018. Recent increases come on top of significant increases following the 2018 revaluation.

I researched data for property taxes and assessments in my community. I found that the assessed value of small old homes like ours increased four times more than the assessed value of large newly built luxury homes. (“Luxury” is a common description in real estate listings.) The sharp increases are also not explained by rising home values, as communicated by the Cook County Assessor’s Office. Tax increases for luxury home owners in my neighborhood tend to be moderate – 30% over five years at most, and some are even seeing reductions. Owners of 16 modest old homes paid a larger increase in tax overall for 2021 than owners of 17 newly built and rehabilitated homes.

The most likely explanation for this pattern is the use of a new artificial intelligence assessment model by the assessor’s office. The model is not properly designed to assess property values ​​in gentrifying communities. It “pulls up” the values ​​of old homes to make them more consistent with the high prices of fully rehabbed and newly built homes. I found that actual market prices do not support these high valuations.

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Meanwhile, the model generously keeps the assessment for high-end homes in check. Unless this problem receives attention, it will very likely accelerate advanced gentrification throughout Chicago – north, south and west.

While other important factors contribute to property tax increases, there should be continued attention to regressive taxation to protect Chicago’s long-stable residents (and tax base) from bearing the brunt of high-end gentrification. Otherwise we have to leave town.

Meanwhile, the Tribune’s March 5 article on property taxes in Cook County (“What you should know before property taxes are due in Cook County”) provides information on how homeowners can appeal assessments. Chicago residents who own older homes and have seen steep tax increases should follow up.

—Lisa Jean Walker, Chicago

The March 4 Tribune article about the shooting death of police officer Andres Mauricio Vasquez Lasso left me with more questions than answers (“Accused shooter of slain officer held without bond”). While my heart goes out to Lasso and his family, who are all in my prayers, I felt real concern about the statement by Julie Koehler, an assistant public defender who spoke about the need for early prevention and about survivors “not waiting for the violence to escalate. » This seems to blame the victim – that victims somehow bear some responsibility for any consequences that follow from the time of their 911 call.

There is already such a sense of shame, fear and isolation caused by domestic violence; a remark like this can keep people more absorbed in their situations rather than finding a voice to talk about their experiences.

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Sensitivity to what is being said can be such a help to bring this issue more into the light and enable victims and their families to be seen and validated in the way they so deeply deserve.

– Mandy May, Evanston

Regarding the article “Expedited schedule for appeal of firearm ruling” (March 8), the question is: Will the two Illinois Supreme Court justices who received $1 million each in campaign funding from Governor JB Pritzker, the defendants in the case, recuse themselves, or is the illinois supreme court corrupt too?

—David J. Fagan, Glen Ellyn

After the passage of the Tennessee law banning drag in public places, I wonder how Nashville Opera will play Cherubino in productions of “The Marriage of Figaro” or any other “pants” role?

—Angus Watson, Arlington Heights

Regarding the March 4 print article on loan forgiveness (“Student Loan Fight: No Biden Plan B”): The photo shows protesters holding signs that say, “Loan Forgiveness is Legal.” Perhaps they should revise the power of the three authorities. The president does not have “the power of the purse”. Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, has the authority to tax and spend public money.

I was working to pay off my college debt. Maybe instead of protesting they should do the same.

—Patricia Bonk, Midlothian

It only seems fair that if Walgreens won’t fill prescriptions for mifepristone, then it should also refuse to fill prescriptions for Viagra.

– Linda Burke, Indian Head Park

Join the conversation this spring Letter to the Editor’s Facebook group.

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Submit a letter, of no more than 400 words, to the editor here or e-mail [email protected].

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