Proposal comes ahead of special property tax task force report due out this month

A pair of researchers are suggesting the best way to reduce property taxes in Illinois is for the state to take over a greater share of funding for public schools and consolidate some units of local government.

Frank Manzo, policy director at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, and Robert Bruno, director of the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, argue in a new report that such a plan would not only hold down future property tax hikes, but it would actually help create jobs and stimulate the state’s economy.

“There have been previous commissions on this issue since the 1980s,” Manzo said in an interview. “Four of them, in fact, and all four unanimously found that really meaningful property tax relief for homeowners would require more state funding for public education. And in three of the four task forces, local government consolidation was also directly or indirectly called for. But these are structural problems that have frankly only deepened since those reports.”

Illinois lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1932 earlier this year establishing a bipartisan Property Tax Relief Task Force. It was part of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s so-called “fair tax” package that also included a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the state to levy a multi-tiered “graduated” income tax in which people would pay higher rates on higher levels of income. Voters will decide on that amendment in the November 2020 elections.

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