Committee Members Delay Vote on Property Tax Legislation Opposed by BOMA/Chicago

May 14, 2019

At the urging of BOMA/Chicago members and their building tenants, the Revenue Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives has delayed a vote on SB 1379, the legislation sponsored by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi earlier this year to require commercial properties to submit income and expense data annually. That data would be used by the Assessor to establish assessed values in Cook County.

BOMA/Chicago has testified at Illinois House and Senate committee hearings in opposition to the legislation, cautioning legislators that they should recognize the risks of sudden changes in assessment practices likely to cause significant increases and shifts in tax burdens. A coalition of business groups, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business and Illinois Retail Merchants Association, are also opposing the legislation.

The expectations of that coalition are that the criticisms raised by the group will be evaluated by the legislature over the summer months and potentially reconsidered in the fall. House Revenue Committee leaders have encouraged Assessor Kaegi to reach out to the coalition of business groups opposing the legislation, including BOMA/Chicago, to address continued concerns regarding fairness, data security and transparency.

Last week, over 70 letters from business tenants that opposed the legislation were gathered by BOMA/Chicago members and delivered to members of the Illinois House Revenue Committee and House legislative leaders. Those letters were appreciated by the legislators and likely influenced the Revenue Committee to postpone its vote. Hearing directly from so many businesses helped illustrate the significant challenges tenants in Chicago and Cook County face when it confronted with uncertainty and potential increases in property taxes.

We continue to urge legislators to examine the Assessor's other policies related to the assessment process such as his selection and application of cap rates that are applied to net operating income to determine assessed value. Results in the northern triad communities of Evanston, Elk Grove Village and Norwood Park show the danger of the policies being implemented there, which have dramatically increased assessments for all properties and disproportionately for commercial properties.

SB 1379 could still be called during this legislative session. We continue to voice our concerns about the legislation and related policies in order to support an honest, fair and transparent assessment process for commercial properties in Cook County.

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