Looking at affordable housing statistics for yesterday’s story reminded me of a bill introduced by Eddie Kucharski back in the 1970’s to help veterans purchase their first home.
He figured many would need help with their downpayment, so introduced a bill to address that problem.
That was back when I had time to read the short descriptions in the Legislative Digest.
It occured to me that veterans were not the only renters with that problem, so I suggested that he broaden the language in his bill to allow anyone to apply for such aid.
He agreed and we passed the first first time homeowner assistance program.
When I was running for Governor as a Libertarian in 2002 against Rod Blagojevich and Jim Ryan, I thought the idea was good enough to put on the campaign website.
Researching the subject, I discovered that our bill had been repealed and replaced with different language.
Same idea, just different implementation.
When I went to the Illinois Housing Development Authority website to find the percentages of affordable housing for McHenry County municipalities, I found a link right on top for those seeking up to $10,000 in downpayment assistance.
Later the same day, I was reading the links to political articles that Dave Diersen sends out twice a day and read one concerning the idea I imported from Oregon that allows seniors to defer paying their real estate taxes until they die.
I was able to get the bill passed the House, but it died in the State Senate.
Later, at the State Republican Convention, I convinced State Senator Doc Davidson of Springfield to insert it in the Party Platform.
During the last years of Governor Richard Ogilvie’s term (1069-73), he supported the Circuit Breaker Property Tax Relilef program.
I still remember the 1972 TV ad of the older couple driving a Model A Ford with an Ogilvie bumper sticker.
No benefits had been delivered by election day, as I remember the timing of the Circuit Breaker’s implementation, but I promoted it in my first run for State Representative, getting a really good article in the Belvidere Daily Republican.
One of my incumbent opponents, Les Cunningham (“Get More with Les”), had been a former Mayor of Belvidere.
It, plus a full-court press at Boone County Fair and knocking on a lot of doors there helped me come in second.
In fact, I spent election night in the Boone County Clerk’s Office.
When I saw that was placing second, I figured I had won a spot in the Illinois House.
I figured out that not all of the $28 million budgeted to finance the Circuit Breaker program has been claimed by seniors, so I introduced a bill to increase its benefits.
Producing a multi-page explanation of why my bill made sense, I presented my bill to the Illinois Revenue Committee.
Chairman Tet Clarke (R-Western Springs) commented that it was the first time a House member had gone to so much trouble to pass a bill.
It was voted out of committee and was signed into law in 1977 at the State Fair’s Senior Citizen Day by Governor Jim Thompson.
But back to the senior tax deferment idea.
I figured that those with incomes low enough to qualify for the Circuit Breaker were taken care of, but what of those owning large homes, but being short on income.
Then I read about the tax deferral ’til death program in Oregon.
I was out of office before the bill passed in the early 1980’s.
To my disappointment, there was an income cap included.
Since those participating would be paying six percent interest, I saw no reason for that limitation.
Governor Pat Quinn refused to fund the Circuit Breaker program and I have lost track of it.
The senior citizen real estate tax deferral program, however, costing State government nothing, is alive and well as Dave Diersen’s Saturday email points to the following article from Kane County Connects:
Kane County Treasurer David Rickert is reminding taxpayers that information and forms for the Senior Citizens Property Tax Deferral program are now available in the Treasurer’s Office.
The program allows qualified senior citizens to defer all or part of their 2018 property taxes up to $5,000 on their personal residence.
Applications must be filed with the Treasurer’s office by March 1, 2019, in order to defer 2018 taxes billed in 2019.
To qualify, a person must be 65 or over by June 1, 2019, have a total household income of $55,000 or less, and have lived in the property for at least three years.
In addition, there must be no delinquent taxes on the property.
Also, if the property is subject to a mortgage then your mortgage company would also have to approve your participation in the program.
Qualified taxpayers can defer taxes totaling up to 80 percent of the equity interest they have in the home.
The program provides funding at a six percent simple interest rate which doesn’t require repayment until the taxpayer sells the property or until after the taxpayer’s death.