Is DuPage County a Portent of Property Taxes to Come?

This was in the Daily Herald Tuesday:

“DuPage County homeowners can expect to pay more property taxes to school districts and other local governments, even though land values continue to plummet.

“The overall value of land in DuPage decreased last year by 8 percent, to roughly $34.6 billion. At the same time, the average tax rate for the county’s 384 taxing bodies — the other half of the tax equation — increased 11.73 percent.

“As a result, property owners countywide are going to pay an average of 3.73 percent more on their tax bills this year…”

So, why does this happen?

The reason, which I have repeated pointed out, is that during the time since the Property Tax Cap took effect in the early 1990’s, real estate inflation vastly outstripped the Consumer Price Index.

Under the Tax Cap, all tax districts but Home Rule municipalities had their tax rates forced down in order to limit their tax extraction from exceeding the increase in the CPI.

That meant their tax rates were well below the maximums set by state law.

When property values started falling, the tax districts kept asking for more money.

Because they were under their maximum rates, those rates were increased enough to give them the amount they got the year before, plus whatever the Consumer Price Index (the measure of inflation used in the law) had increased.

In DuPage County’s case this past year, tax districts did what most do every year, try to squeeze every dime they can out of property owners’ pockets.

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