Cook County’s property sales tax process is ‘wholly unfair’

The current system discriminates against Black and Latino residents, often resulting in loss of a family’s home over a minuscule amount of unpaid property taxes.

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People stand in line at the Cook County treasurer’s office, where property taxes are paid.

Cook County treasurer’s office, where property taxes are paid, in 2020.

Sun-Times file

Kudos to Legal Action Chicago, Southwest Organizing Project and Logan Square Neighborhood Association for filing a major federal civil rights lawsuit to reform Cook County’s wholly unfair delinquent property sales tax process. As correctly set forth in the lawsuit, the current system discriminates against Black and Latino residents, often resulting in loss of a family’s home over a minuscule amount of unpaid property taxes.

The current system also discriminates against homeowners with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disabilities who are not able to understand or take appropriate action in response to property tax bills or notices that their home will be sold over unpaid taxes. Most often the homeowner is of advanced age.

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Over the years, our office has been appointed guardian for dozens of homeowners with cognitive disabilities who lost their longtime family homes in this manner. When this happens, we initiate litigation to recover the home.

Unfortunately, the litigation often takes years and is costly. Meanwhile, the senior has nowhere to live. Typically the person’s home, which they worked hard for decades to pay off, is their only asset or is by far their most valuable asset.

Reform of this discriminatory and inequitable system is long overdue. Hopefully the lawsuit will spark meaningful change.

Charles P. Golbert, Cook County public guardian, Chicago

Parents of unvaccinated kids should pay costs

Parents who support removal of vaccine mandates for school attendance are confusing individual rights and benefits of public health. A recent survey shows 35% of surveyed parents said it should be up to moms and dads whether to have their kids vaccinated. The results show an increase from 23% in 2019.

The parents who want vaccine mandates repelled should agree to pay the costs to place their children in separate classrooms from vaccinated children or provide insurance to pay for treatment of children infected by their children.

These parents don’t have any right to endanger others.

Warren Rodgers Jr., Matteson

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