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BOMA/Chicago Advocates for Classification Reform with Cook County Board

This month, BOMA/Chicago concentrated advocacy efforts related to property tax assessments and classification on the Cook County Board of Commissioners. 

After the Taxation Committee met with Jim Thompson, Director of the Property Assessment and Tax Policy with the Cook County President’s Office, BOMA/Chicago was invited to participate as an external stakeholder with the President’s tax assessment working group. Asked to share issues and concerns, BOMA/Chicago’s Taxation Committee submitted this document to the working group. The document outlines marketplace trends, along with concerns related classification and assessment policies that negatively impact commercial properties and the business tenants who ultimately pay the bill.  

Earlier this month, BOMA/Chicago Director of Government and External Affairs, Amy Masters, provided testimony to the Cook County Board Budget Committee. She thanked the County Board for not raising the property tax levy since 1994, while advocating for classification reform to provide much-needed relief for commercial office buildings and business tenants who ultimately pay the bill.  

The testimony emphasized the fact that commercial office buildings are assessed at 250% the rate of residential buildings. Comments also included a recap of challenges commercial office buildings are facing including a sluggish return to office and record high vacancy, combined with an increased tax burden on commercial properties because of assessment policies.  

The testimony can be read here: Cook County Budget Hearing Testimony

BOMA/Chicago also submitted a letter to the entire County Board providing qualified support for a new Class 7D, creating a property tax incentive for grocery stores located in food deserts. This ordinance amending the classification system was unanimously approved by the County Board’s Economic Development committee.  

The letter pointed out that there is a need to provide assessment relief to all commercial properties. BOMA/Chicago urged the Cook County Board not to limit their reform to one class, but to reform the entire classification system. Reforming the classification system on a holistic level will create jobs, grow the tax base, and benefit all taxpayers. 

The letter can be read here: BOMA Chicago letter to Cook County Board