Analysis: Illinois 'collar counties' especially hard hit by property taxes
A nonpartisan report on property taxes in the U.S. quantifies just how painful property taxes are in Illinois' collar state and has a direct correlation to the huge out-migration registered in those states, a Conservative pundit said during a radio talk show.
"It's the No. 1 issue that's facing our state currently," Illinois Opportunity Project co-founder Pat Hughes said during a recent edition of Illinois Rising. "It should be the No. 1 issue as we go into the 2018 elections. The other data that's here shows that correlation. Look at the net out-migration numbers in these counties. Not only are people being taxed out of their homes, which is bad enough for them individually - and if they choose to stay, they have to suffer and be slaves to the state - the people who are lucky enough to either sell their homes or move out of their apartment, they're leaving. They’re leaving these counties to go somewhere else."
Hughes, a Hinsdale attorney and real estate developer, is president of the Liberty Justice Center and co-founder with Dan Proft of the Illinois Opportunity Project. Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
The nonpartisan Washington D.C.-based think tank Tax Foundation recently reported just how burdensome the property taxes are in Illinois' "collar counties", DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will, compared to the rest of the country. An Illinois Policy Institute analysis of the Tax Foundation report found that homeowner in those counties pay the highest property taxes in Illinois and that taxpayers throughout the state pay some of the highest property taxes in the U.S.
"And in a state with a widespread property tax problem, residents of Chicago’s collar counties bear an especially heavy burden," said the Illinois Policy Institute analysis, compiled by IPI writer Joe Kaiser. "Homeowners in these areas pay the highest property taxes in the state, and among the highest in the country, according to data from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. The rankings are calculated based off median effective property tax rates."
Lake and DuPage counties pay the highest and second-highest property taxes in the state and rank 21st and 27th in the nation, respectively, while McHenry, Kane and Will counties rank fourth, fifth and sixth in the state respectively, according to the Illinois Policy Institute analysis. All of those counties rank among the nation's top 35 counties as having the highest median property taxes.
The median property tax bill for residents in Lake County is almost $7,000 and exceeds $6,200 in DuPage County, while McHenry, Kane and Will county residents pay almost $6,000 in their median property tax bill, according to the Illinois Policy Institute analysis.
Using date provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tax Foundation found that the median annual property tax bill in the nation was $2,149, or about $180 each month, from 2011 to 2015. The Tax Foundation also found that 31.3 percent of state and local tax revenue in fiscal 2014 came from property levies.
The figures illustrate how Illinois is becoming a home equity desert, which is startling because those five collar counties do not contain the nation's most expensive real estate, Hughes said. " It's in New York, in California or San Francisco," Hughes aid. "Lake County has a lot of wealthy parts to it, it has the North Shore, but that's not where it all is. That's how, on a percentage basis, how painful the taxes are in Lake County.”
The high property taxes in the collar counties is directly related to the out-migration, measured in the tens of thousands, from those counties to states such as Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana and Kentucky, Hughes said. "When 90,000 people leave from these counties, that shows an economic decline," Hughes said. "That's 90,000 workers, that's 90,000 tax payers, it's 90,000 people who are productive in the society going to some other state where they'll be productive, they'll add to the tax base, they'll add to economic growth. That's why we're on the wrong track."