Join BOMA/Chicago’s Fight For A Better Property Tax System

The assessment rate for commercial properties in Cook County is 250% of the rate of assessment for residential properties, resulting in higher tax bills for commercial properties of equivalent value. BOMA/Chicago’s member buildings have paid over $1 billion in property taxes in just one year. Could it get any worse? It can – which is why support for our Industry Defense Fund means so much.

In 2020, thousands of Chicago’s commercial properties will face a level of pressure unlike any we’ve experienced from city government. With Mayor Lightfoot staring at a gaping budget deficit of $1 billion, combined with surging pension obligations, there’s little doubt that the eyes of the Cook County Assessor’s office will be squarely fixated on commercial properties to shoulder this massive property tax load.

What could this mean for you – and for your tenants?

If you’re a building member, you already know how challenging Chicago’s property taxes can be for your property and your tenants. But it’s just as concerning to us how investors, banks and tenants will continue to view Chicago’s commercial marketplace with uncertainty if properties are forced to largely finance the city’s property taxes. With no end in sight in the form of real property tax relief, business tenants are apt to slow their long-term plans for expansion, cut jobs and possibly exit the city.

At a minimum, it can mean you have tenants that aren’t growing their businesses. At worst, your occupancy rates will suffer. Considering the drastic reassessment increases commercial buildings have experienced in the northern suburbs this past year – that will be passed on to business tenants – such an outcome isn’t hard to imagine.

That’s why the most important fight you can join for the betterment of your building and its tenants – today’s and tomorrow’s – is supporting BOMA/Chicago’s Industry Defense Fund.  

BOMA/Chicago’s Industry Defense Fund has served as the financial backbone for initiatives on behalf of Chicago’s commercial real estate industry, including:

  • Our lawsuit against the City of Chicago over the Fair Workweek Ordinance.
    This ordinance, scheduled to take effect July 1 of this year, will require some Chicago employers to publish employee schedules two weeks in advance, and generally prevent us from directing our workforce – including janitorial, security and building engineer contractors – in the best interests of our customers and our operational needs. The most troubling aspect of this new law is its provision that makes it applicable to collective bargaining agreements unless the parties explicitly state in their agreement that it does not. We believe this provision clearly conflicts with our right to collectively bargain with our workers’ unions.

  • Our commitment to Renew Cook County.
    Renew Cook County is a broad coalition of property owners, asset managers, tenants, residents, companies, construction, trade groups and other organizations, all formed with the purpose of reducing the property tax burden to commercial properties. As a coalition leader, we firmly believe this campaign initiative will raise the visibility of key issues and achieve critical wins for Chicago’s commercial real estate community.

  • Funds for advocacy issues that impact BOMA/Chicago members at every level.

We fully anticipate having a seat at the table at City Hall with Mayor Lightfoot and in Springfield with Governor Pritzker to discuss these pressing issues. All the while, BOMA/Chicago will be continually educating our members and the public through media outreach on the property tax matters and other issues of 2020 that impact Chicago’s office building industry.

How can you have a hand in reaching a positive outcome?

It’s actually much easier than you might expect. In fact, you can do it just by renewing your BOMA/Chicago 2020 membership.

When you receive your invoice for renewal, you’ll see there’s an opportunity to contribute to the Industry Defense Fund as well. We have suggested contribution amounts equal to 25% of your current dues. Find this area electronically by logging into your account online and locating the “Pay Members Dues” link in the far left panel.

After reaching nearly $62,000 in Industry Defense Fund contributions last year, it’s our goal to double that amount in 2020! You can help us get there by doubling your contribution from last year. If you haven’t contributed before, please consider contributing at the 25% level we recommend.

Together, we can make an outstanding difference advocating for a better financial climate for commercial real estate – one that encourages a flow of companies downtown, a thriving hiring agenda and optimistic plans for the future. And we couldn’t be more grateful for that commitment from you today.

Show your dedication to the commercial real estate business in Chicago by renewing your 2020 BOMA/Chicago membership and doubling your commitment to the Industry Defense Fund!

For more information about BOMA/Chicago’s Industry Defense Fund, contact Ron Tabaczynski, Director of Government Affairs, at 312.870.9611 or rtabaczynski@bomachicago.org.