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Sneed exclusive: Homeowner exemption expansion planned ahead of tax hike

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Sneed has learned Mayor Emanuel is planning to keep property taxes low for lower-income Chicagoans — ahead of a massive property tax increase that is all but promised in the city’s next budget.

City Hall sources tell Sneed Rahm wants to increase the homeowner exemption, which is now $7,000 off a home’s assessed value, for people who own property valued at less than $250,000.

The goal is to keep property taxes the same for middle and lower-income homeowners, City Hall sources say — and well over 100,000 homeowners will benefit from the expanded exemption.

• Caveat: The property must be owner-occupied to qualify for the exemption.

• Buckshot: Sources claim the mayor’s got state House Speaker Mike Madigan and state Senate President John Cullerton on board, though the power brokers are still determining the final parameters.

“The mayor has said he would make sure that any property tax increase was done in a fair and progressive way, with particular regard to seniors and working families,” a City Hall source said.

OPINION

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The reported property tax increase, expected to be $500 million, will join the city’s first-ever garbage-collection fee, a tax on smokeless tobacco, and a $1 fee on Uber rides. Additional taxes are still being considered.

The city is scrambling to raise funds for the $30 billion pension crisis, which has lowered Chicago’s bond rating to junk status.

The Axe man . . .

Former Obama strategist David Axelrod just signed a contract as a senior political commentator for CNN.

“And am very happy about it!” Axelrod told Sneed.

Roll call …

The Bronx bulldog is barking.

Outraged by the discovery of the dismembered body of a toddler found mired in the muck of a Garfield Park lagoon, Bronx-bred Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is pushing full bore to find the person who committed this heinous act.

“My husband may appear to be hardened to a lot of things, but I can see the difference in his demeanor since the child’s body was found,” said his wife, Chicago attorney Kristin Barnette McCarthy.

“He gets quiet. Very quiet. Then you know it is really bothering him,” she said. “It’s his way of expressing sadness.

“Although he is really concerned about all victims of crime, crimes against children really strike a chord with him,” she added.

“The recovery of the child’s body parts took him back to the time when he was at ground zero helping in the 9/11 recovery effort. It was when he helped retrieve the body of one of his friends, a fellow police officer.”

On Sept. 11, 2012, McCarthy recounted the nightmare of 9/11 to Sneed. “I personally knew 13 of the 23 police officers who died,” he said then.

The tragedy of 9/11 has now become a memory. The toddler in the lagoon is still a nightmare; the silence of no one claiming they are missing a child is deafening. No wonder McCarthy is barking orders to find the person who did this. He needs to drown out the work of the devil.

Trump dump . . .

GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who has insulted Carly Fiorina, blasted Megyn Kelly, and pummeled Hillary Clinton, once got dissed by actress Candice Bergen.

The Trumpster was apparently infatuated with the beautiful Bergen when she was homecoming queen at the University of Pennsylvania. He asked her out. She nixed the invite.

Trump told an interviewer: “I did make the move. And I must say she had the good sense to say, ‘Absolutely not.’ ”

I spy . . .

Blackhawks star Duncan Keith stopped by Harry Caray’s Thursday.

Sneedlings . . .

Congratulations to stellar reporters Becky Schlikerman and Kim Janssen on their wedding this weekend! Saturday’s birthdays: Jennifer Hudson, 34; Louis C.K., 48, and Emmy Rossum, 29. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Ben Savage, 35; Tyler Perry, 46, and Fiona Apple, 38.

Follow Sneed on Twitter: @Sneedlings

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