A press release from State Senator Dan McConchie:
McConchie legislation would allow voters in all counties to vote to reduce their own property taxes
Springfield, IL… State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) introduced Senate Bill 2670 to allow voters in counties under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), the state’s property tax cap law, the ability to reduce their property taxes via referendum—something only voters in counties not subject to PTELL’s tax caps are allowed to do.
“The data indicates that since 1990 property taxes have increased faster in counties with tax caps than in those without them.
[Since 1990, property taxes in PTELL counties outside the Chicago area have grown by 260 percent. In non-PTELL counties, the growth was 222 percent over the same period.]
“It seems that voters giving up the ability to go to referendum to lower their property taxes in exchange for property tax caps has actually resulted in higher property taxes, not lower,” Sen. McConchie said.
McConchie notes that this bill alone certainly won’t fix Illinois’ flawed property tax system, but he says it would undoubtedly give voters more control over out-of-control local governments via the property tax levy, which is something McConchie says could greatly benefit homeowners in PTELL counties throughout the state.
“We need to make it easier for voters to regain control over the nearly 7,000 units of local government by giving them back the tool they used to have; the ability reduce the tax these governments are allowed to levy.”
PTELL was first put into place in 1990.
[This is what Governor Jim Edgar was able to accomplish with Mike Madigan as House Speaker.]
It first applied to the suburban Chicago counties and slowly expanded over the years.
Currently Cook and the collar counties are subject to PTELL limitations as well as about forty percent of other counties across the state.
In PTELL counties, a local government can only increase yearly tax revenues up to 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.
Voters can vote to raise their property taxes above the cap, but are not allowed to go to referendum to lower them. In non-PTELL counties, voters have both the ability to raise and lower their own property taxes via referendum.
A petitioner must obtain signatures of at least ten percent of the votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election within that taxing district. The proposition needs a simple majority to pass. The proposal mirrors current law for non-PTELL counties.
SB 2670 has been assigned to the Senate Revenue Committee. Other sponsors of the bill include State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville), State Senator Tom Rooney (R-Palatine), State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove), and State Senator Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst).
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Here is the operative language proposed:
Sec. 18-207. Reduced aggregate extension base.
(a) Upon submission of a petition signed by a number of
voters of the taxing district that is not less than 10% of the
votes cast in the taxing district at the immediately preceding
gubernatorial election, the question of whether a taxing
district shall reduce its aggregate extension base for the
purpose of lowering its limiting rate for future years shall be
submitted to the voters of the taxing district at the next
general or consolidated election. The petition shall set forth
the amount of the reduction and the levy years for which the
reduction shall be applicable.
(b) The petition shall be filed with the applicable
election authority, as defined in Section 1-3 of the Election
Code, or, in the case of multiple election authorities, with
the State Board of Elections, not more than 10 months nor less
than 6 months prior to the election at which the question is to
be submitted to the voters, and its validity shall be
determined as provided by Article 28 of the Election Code and
general election law. The election authority or Board, as
applicable, shall certify the question and the proper election
authority or authorities shall submit the question to the
voters. Except as otherwise provided in this Section, this
referendum shall be subject to all other general election law
(c) The proposition seeking to reduce the aggregate
extension base shall be in substantially the following form:
Shall the aggregate extension base used to calculate
the limiting rate for (taxing district) under the Property
Tax Extension Limitation Law be reduced by (amount of money
expressed in U.S. dollars) for (levy year or years)?
Votes shall be recorded as “Yes” or “No”.
If a majority of all votes cast on the proposition are in
favor of the proposition, then the aggregate extension base
shall be reduced as provided in the referendum.
Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law.”.