With the Chicago Board of Education given the power to raise the city’s property tax levy as part of the yet-to-be-signed education funding bill, the typical Chicago homeowner could potentially see his or her tax bill go up almost an additional $100.
In 2016, Chicago property tax rates were levied an additional 0.367 percent to raise $272 million needed to cover teacher pensions, according to figures supplied by Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office. For a home worth $200,000 that meant an additional $180 owed in property taxes.
Now, in the 2017 tax year, CPS is poised to increase its pension levy by an additional $148 million under the education bill. That would mean an additional $98 in property taxes owed for a home worth $200,000 — on top of the $180 already levied for pensions, according to Orr’s office.
Despite the ability to bring in up to $148 million, CPS has said it would cap its levy at $125 million. Orr’s office said that would mean an additional $83 owed in property taxes for a home worth $200,000. The tax hike would not require approval by the City Council.
The average median home price in Chicago has hovered around $200,000 for some time. The real estate website Zillow now pegs the average median home price at $223,400.
That plan, however, appears to be at odds with at least one member of the City Council.
Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s floor leader, said the Chicago Board of Education would enact such a tax hike only as a last resort, as city homeowners and businesses are “pretty much at critical mass” after being hit with $838 million in property-tax increases to cover a wide range of city-related pension payments.
“Good business would require you to look at all other options before you go further into debt. It’s a last-case scenario,” he said.