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Quinn’s ‘guaranteed’ property tax refund costly for some

Leave it to Gov. Pat Quinn to tout a “guaranteed $500 property tax refund” for “every homeowner in Illinois” without mentioning that it’s actually a tax increase for some of those homeowners.

Quinn makes it difficult to be in his corner sometimes.

The governor proposed the property tax refund Wednesday as the sweetener to help Illinoisans swallow his decision to make permanent the “temporary” income tax hike he signed into law in 2011.

If the Legislature goes along, Quinn plans to start sending out the $500 checks this summer so that voters might feel a little more kindly toward him when they step into the voting booth this November.

Transparency in government is very popular these days, and that’s about as transparent as it gets.

While you’re busy spending your $500, however, you ought to keep in mind that the refund replaces the 5 percent property tax credit that Illinois homeowners now receive on their income tax return.

The average credit currently is $247, says the Quinn administration, which equates to a net gain to a taxpayer of $253 after trading off the credit for the refund. Your net gain will be more or less than that, depending on how much you pay in property taxes.