Gov. Bruce Rauner is touring the state calling for lawmakers to pass what he’s calling “true, lasting” property tax relief.
The Republican says Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the country, and it’s driving people from the state. The senate passed a two-year property tax freeze before it adjourned last month. It would have provided some relief and presumably time to achieve meaningful pension and education funding reforms for local governments.
But the governor says a two-year freeze isn’t real, because property taxes would skyrocket after it expires.
“And if we’re going to ask, as the Senate wants to do, for a massive income tax hike which is permanent and massive sales tax hike which is permanent, to offer the people of Illinois only a 2-year property tax freeze in return, that’s not fair,” Rauner said.
The governor says he’s willing to do a four-year freeze and allow people to control their property tax levy by voter referendum. But people like Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis say a property tax freeze doesn’t address the biggest issue.
“It polls really well. But the problem with it is, it doesn’t add a dime of revenue to the state revenue stream," Ardis said. "It’s not going to anything to help them do anything to balance their budget, that is the worst one in the country.”
Ardis says the state might see new business growth if it could put as much emphasis on resolving the budget crisis as it is on property tax relief.