BOMA/Chicago Teams with Business Group Coalition to Oppose Property Tax Legislation

May 28, 2019

At the urging of BOMA/Chicago members and their building tenants, BOMA/Chicago continues to oppose Senate Bill (SB) 1379 in the final days of the General Assembly's regular session. The legislation is sponsored by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and would require commercial properties to submit income and expense data annually.

BOMA/Chicago has also teamed with a coalition of business groups, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Taxpayer Federation of Illinois, Illinois Manufacturers Association, National Federation of Independent Business and Illinois Retail Merchants Association, to oppose the legislation. The group has cautioned legislators that they should recognize the risks of sudden changes in assessment practices likely to cause significant increases and shifts in tax burdens. 

Additionally, BOMA/Chicago has urged 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.

After a vote on the legislation was delayed in the Illinois House Revenue Committee earlier this month, a number of negotiation meetings took place in which BOMA/Chicago and other coalition members participated. 

However, with overall concerns still not addressed, the coalition continues to oppose the legislation despite rumors an agreement was reached between all the parties. In fact, BOMA/Chicago's Executive Vice President, Michael Cornicelli, provided a statement on May 25 emphasizing BOMA/Chicago's ongoing concerns about the legislation as follows:

"The recent discussions technically improved a terribly drafted bill (e.g., as passed by the Senate, building owners and their tenants were broadly required to submit “income and expense data” well beyond rent and related expenses, under a financial penalty four times greater than for Class X felony murder). BOMA candidly was disappointed that the Assessor’s office would not entertain discussion beyond the four corners of its original bill draft, even while acknowledging the legitimacy of unaddressed concerns over the assessment process ... We are disappointed that the Assessor jumped the gun here."

The legislation could still be voted on before session adjourns. Representatives of BOMA/Chicago and other business groups continue to work around the clock and are conducting numerous personal office visits with State Representatives to voice concerns about the legislation and related policies in order to support an honest, fair and transparent assessment process for commercial properties in Cook County. The coalition is asking that the criticisms raised by the group be evaluated by the legislature over the summer months and potentially reconsidered in the fall to address continued concerns regarding fairness, data security and transparency.

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