Effective Tax Rates in McHenry County

The only way to compare property tax burdens is to divide one’s property tax bill by the value of one’s home.

That’s what the Chicago Tribune did in November of 2015.

The effective tax rates found for McHenry County towns follow.2You will note that differences within a given town are mainly attributable to differences in township taxes…with the exception of Barrington Hills, where Cook County’s assessment of residential real estate at a much lower level than in the collar counties makes the difference.

Effective tax rate Alg 2015Effective Tax Rate Barrington HillsEffective Tax Rate Bull ValleyEffective Tax Rate Cary 2015Effective Tax Rate CL 2015Effective Tax Rate Foz Lake + FRG 2015Effective tax rate Greenwood 2015Effective Tax Rate Harvard 2015Effective Tax Rate Hebron 2015Effective Tax Rate Holiday Hills 2015Effective Tax Rate Huntley 2015Effective Tax Rate Island Lake 2015Effective Tax Rate Johnsburg 2015Effective Tax Rate Lakemoor + Lakewood 2015Effective Tax Rate LITH 2015Effective Tax Rate Marengo 2015Effective Tax Rate McCullum Lake 2015Effective Tax Rate McHenry 2015Effective Tax Rate Oakwood Hills 2015Effective Tax Rate Port Barrington 2015Effective Tax Rate Prairie Grove 2015Effective Tax Rate Rixhmond 2015Effective Tax Rate Ringwood 2015Effective Tax Rate Spring Grove 2015Effective Tax Rate Trout Vally + UnionEffective tax rate WL 2015Effective tax rate Woodstock 2015


Effective Tax Rates in McHenry County — 25 Comments

  1. It would be interesting to see the breakdown by TAXing body.

  2. The problem is not to the RIGHT of the decimal place, it’s to the LEFT of the decimal place.

    We need to CUT taxes, not just hold the line.


    In 1980, the people of Massachusetts — then called “Taxachusetts” because of their sky high property taxes — passed “Prop Two and a Half.”

    It limited governments to an aggregate property tax rate of 2½%, and an annual increase of the lower of CPI or 2½%.

    There were cries that the Apocalypse would ensue.

    Prop Two and a Half passed and guess what — the world didn’t end!

    In fact, Massachusetts grew wealthier.

    What we need in THIS County is for those who run for office to promise to cut property taxes by 2½% per year until we get back to an aggregate property tax rate of 2½%.

    Let’s be real:

    1) There isn’t a government in this County that is so efficient it can’t find cuts equal to 2½% of their property taxes which, in many cases, is much less than 2½% of their total expenditures.

    2) The schools, which account for the bulk of the taxes, are LOSING STUDENTS. Their costs should be going DOWN. Instead every year they increase taxes by the max. D47 increased the number of teachers AND administrators even as enrollment declined substantially.

    3) The schools have a wide variance in how much they spend per student with no statistically significant difference in test scores or graduation rates when adjusted for poverty.

    This PROVES all but ONE of the school districts can get by with much less than they’re spending now.

    Yet not ONE school district says, “We should find out how the cheapest schools achieve these results and copy them.”

    Prop 2½ NOW!

  3. Don’t you think our park districts are a little over the top?

    Give them your money and they will find a way to spend it.

    How about our bike paths, wonder what the percentage of usage is?

    We have enough fire equipment in this county to support a population of 2 million.

    How about all the paved roads with yellow stripes prohibiting use?

    Our taxing bodies are comfortable with excess!

  4. But, Steve, how can was pay for all those social workers we are adding to school payrolls to build self-esteem if we do not keep our taxes so high and higher? 🙂

    Based on reported results we are sure not spending that money on raising the quality of STEM education.

    Jim also raises a very valid point!

    Bike paths are primarily being constructed to shut up people like Eberhardt (sp?).

    We have the highest paid park and conservation district employees in the country!!

  5. We need to rein in the Fire Departments as mentioned.

    Yesterday I watched an ambulance AND a pumper truck go on an ambulance call!

    What a waste of taxpayer dollars, but i am quite confident that the Fire Workers union has negotiated such activity as being necessary!!

    That said, I am still waiting for candidates running for State office to come out with their referendum on changing the pension clause in the State Constitution.

  6. These tax rates are beyond crisis level.

    There is not a single budget decision which should be made without reference to these crisis level rates, and how to bring them down before mass destruction.

    Why is it such a crisis?

    Nobody can count on a ‘bigger fool’ to come along and buy a home that requires a cost-of-carry double or triple national average.

    There is no rational justification for any assertion that EAV will rise.

    Therefore EAV can only fall and levy (historically indicated) will rise, causing tax rates to rise further, which causes home values to sink further, causing tax rates to rise…

    it is a self-feeding NEGATIVE feedback loop.

    Any elected official who ignores this CRISIS LEVEL property tax rate has no business holding public office.

  7. I can’t agree that property tax owed divided by value of the property is the only way to compare property tax burdens.

    It has the virtue of being simple, but it doesn’t really tell the whole story. Not everything scales.

    In the North Shore area of Cook County, property taxes were about 2.5% of market value the last time I checked, but I consider that very high.

    The houses are generally far more valuable, so the total tax bill is much higher, and people are much less likely to use the government services that are funded by property taxes.

    They are far more likely to put their kids in private schools and far less likely to need or cause other people to need law enforcement services.

    Contrast that with someone who lives in a sub 100k house in Woodstock and pays 4k in taxes.

    If he has a couple of kids in school, he is getting a comparative bargain.

    We tend to focus on the tax burden when we should be focusing on how much government agencies are spending.

    We need to hound school boards when they want to give teachers overly generous raises or build unnecessary schools.

    We need to hound city councils when they want to overpay their employees, hire too many of them, or build stuff that isn’t absolutely necessary.

    High taxes are an effect, not a cause.

  8. Tax rate is the PERFECT way to compare burdens: because it represents a RATIO of spending in the community relative to MEANS of the community.

  9. If you want to drill deeper:

    look at PERCENTAGE OF HOUSEHOLD INCOME represented by property tax burden.

    This is a widely analyzed number compiled frequently by BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), thus apt to be accurate.

  10. The schools take SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT of my property taxes.

    I don’t even have kids in school.

    You call that fair?

  11. Starting at least as far back as the 1870 State Constitution, education was financed by general tax funds, not user fees.

  12. When a disproportionate amount of General State Aid, Poverty Grants and PTELL credits go to Chicago, the only thing we have left with which to pay for education is our property taxes.

    Property taxes will never go down until Springfield changes the way in which we pay for education.

    General State Aid: http://steve463.com/2015/08/31/education-funding-a-crumbling-foundation/

    Poverty Grant: http://steve463.com/2015/09/01/education-funding-part-ii-the-big-sucking-sound-from-the-shores-of-lake-michigan/

    PTELL: http://steve463.com/2015/09/08/education-part-iii-ptell-giveth-and-ptell-taketh-away/

    Jack Franks has done nothing to alleviate the burden on local taxpayers.

    If elected, I’ll be a constant voice in changing how we fund education, giving parents the biggest role in determining how their kids are educated.

    Choice and competition will give us better outcomes at a lower cost to the taxpayers.

    Jack Franks is the status quo, and the status quo isn’t working.

  13. Susan Handelsman has been right about this all along.

    She has pointed out these high property taxes, particularly Woodstock’s tax rate, multiple times.

    Hopefully her warnings will not continue to fall on deaf ears.

    It is interesting what Steve Willson says,

    “We need to cut taxes, not just hold the line”.

    I agree with the point, and unfortunately holding the line is exactly what governments around here, especially the city of Woodstock, love bragging about as a big accomplishment.

    Sometimes officials boast how they could have raised taxes more than they did too.

    These are strange little tricks on officials’ part.

    The talking points are useful for them trying to win re-
    election, but not useful for those struggling, or really anybody else for that matter.

  14. Steve: How will our overall taxes go down if you simply replace the money collected in property taxes with money collected at the State Level?

    Do you have an initiative to remove the public sector pension guarantee from the Constitution?

    Do you have an initiative to eliminate public sector collective bargaining?

    Do you have an initiative to eliminate prevailing wage laws?

    Do you have an initiative to eliminate all pensions for elected officials?

  15. @Questioning:
    1. If you’re talking about the entire smorgasbord of taxes (income, property, sales, etc) that we pay to support government, then you aren’t going to get a reduction in taxes until you’re willing to live with less government.

    I lived in Missouri for 12 years in a county where all the county roads were gravel.

    As a result, we didn’t pay so much for roads.

    We paid $25 per year for fire protection to our volunteer fire department.

    If we didn’t pay and made a call, it was $600 for the first half hour and $600 an hour thereafter.

    I’ve seen the department stand by and watch a house burn down because the owner refused to pay the $25 and wouldn’t cough up the per-call fee.

    Are you willing to make these types of choices?

    As it relates specifically to education, I’m convinced that putting parents in charge of their kids’ education will result in more competition and lower education costs.

    I urge you to read 2 books:

    (1) The New School by Glenn Harlan Reynolds and

    (2) One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan.

    They transformed my thinking on how to educate in the 21st Century.

    As to how to pay for it, I’m very interested in looking at the Educational Choice Scholarship Program that’s been enacted in Nevada.


    2. I’m in favor of moving public employees to a defined-contribution (401-style) pension.

    However, removing the pension guarantee will not remove the guarantee for pensions already earned.

    Since there is no constitutional requirement that pensions much actually be funded, this issue will resolve itself the first time somebody presents a pension check against an account that’s overdrawn.


    3. I support Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda as it relates to both collective bargaining and prevailing wage.

    In 2014, 68% of the people of this District voted for Rauner, so they must feel the same way.

    Ask Jack Franks where he stands on these issues.

    See if you get a straight answer.

    4. One of the best ways to guarantee that people don’t become career politicians is to take away the prospect of pensions for elected officials, which I fully favor.


    I will not participate in the pension system, if for no other reason than I don’t want to subsidize Franks’ $2.5 million guaranteed payout.


  16. And Cal: my tax bill’s breakdown shows what you call “Township Taxes” are less than 2% of my tax bill.

    The school district(s) are taking (again…wait for it…) SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT of my property tax bill.

    So I don’t think the “townships” have much to do with any of this?

  17. If the only difference in one’s tax bill in Crystal Lake, for instance, which lies in four townships, is the township government, they the difference in the tax bills can be attributed to the difference in the townships’ tax rates.

  18. All of the City of Crystal Lake is in Crystal Lake Grade School District 47 and Crystal Lake High School District 155 with the exception of the far northwest side north of Route 176, which is in the Woodstock School District.

  19. Cal: that doesn’t make sense mathematically.

    What about the differences between school districts, park districts, fire districts, and the other 13 things listed on my tax bill?

    Are you telling me these all have identical tax rates everywhere?

    And only the township tax rates aren’t the same everywhere?

  20. Same school districts, park district, no fire protection district (service provided by Crystal Lake Fire Department), same junior college, same county, etc.

    Might have missed some.

    If the County Board would allow us to create Crystal Lake Township, which we could then ask the State legislature to allow us to abolish by referendum, the rates would be the same.

  21. Cal: I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how property taxes work in Illinois.

    The school district next to mine has a lower tax rate than I do, I checked it last night.

    So does the neighboring park district.

    So does the city and village.

    These big line items of our tax bills seem to vary a LOT depending on location and who is administering them.

    However, the “township” portion of my tax bill is less than 2% of the whole thing, so their portion of my effective tax rate of 3.0833 comes to 0.0567. The schools’ portion of my effective tax rate comes to 2.28.

    Looking at this list of effective tax rates, I don’t see a mere difference of 0.0567 (“township” effective tax rate) between them, I see a LOT more than that. So how can the township tax rate be the ONLY difference between all these effective tax rates?

    The REAL problem seems to be the schools, with their SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT chunk of my tax bill, and, again, I have no kids in school…

  22. I was collecting property taxes from McHenry County in 1967, argued assessment appeals successfully before the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board in 1970 and sponsored or had major input on many bills on the subject while I served in the Illinois General Assembly (the first agricultural assessment bill for smaller counties like McHenry, the multiplier bill, requiring qualifications for Board of Review members, etc.), so I think maybe I know a bit about the subject.

    My comments about the differences among effective tax rates in Crystal Lake (as well as other towns split by arbitrary township lines) was this:

    If all the tax districts covering a town like Crystal Lake are the same, except for the township one lives in, then the difference in the effective tax rates is dependent on the what the township tax rates are.

    In Crystal Lake, for example, all (but a small portion of Crystal Lake in Woodstock District 200 on the far Northwest side of town) property is taxed for

    McHenry County
    McHenry County College
    McHenry County Conservation District
    Crystal Lake
    Crystal Lake Park District
    Crystal Lake Grade School District
    Crystal Lake High School District

    Some of Crystal Lake is in each of the following townships:


    Because they do not all have the same tax rate, the effective tax rates of property will be different, depending on where the property is located.

    That said, of course most taxes go to school districts.

    That is not what this real estate tax comparison tool is all about.

    It is a method of comparing one’s tax bill with one anywhere else.

  23. Just to throw it out there; Harvard costs approximately $45k per year for tuition and fees.

    4 years = $180k.

    Going to school there increases your lifetime earning potential by quite a bit.

    Property taxes on a $200k house = $8k in our wonderful county with, for math sake, I will say 75% goes to schools.

    Live here for 60 years and with a modest annual property tax increase of 2% you are looking at shelling over $685k for your kids schools.

    If you have 1 child that is a $685k education they are getting, if you have 2 that is a $342.5k education, etc.

    Can my kids get really nice jobs by saying they went to

    “McHenry County K-12 educational system”?

    Doubt it!!

    What a scam!

    When unions say,

    “it’s for the kids”

    and fight for the bloated contracts how many have you heard say

    “we are forgoing our increases for better books, after school programs, etc. for the kids”?

    Absolutely none.

    It all goes to their salaries which creates unsustainable pensions.

  24. THAT is the sort of comparison shopping that EVERY taxpayer should be thinking about!

    When people get to that level of analysis, no citizen will stand for the +/-4% property tax rate in this County any longer.

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