Greg G.: Not a penny of our taxes actually goes to the schools.


Greg G. owns a 2,767 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom Chicago home that is currently assessed at $541,430.

“I’ve thought about moving, but my property is very special because it’s like three lots and everyone in the world wants it,” Greg said. “It’s very unique in the city of Chicago.”

Greg took possession of the home in 1999 when it was worth around $260,000, or $393,505 in today’s dollars. He has paid $47,504 in property taxes since 2012, more than 18 percent of the original value of his home.

“Not a penny of our taxes actually goes to the schools,” Greg said. “Not a penny is going toward our roads and highways. All the money they’re paying in is going to pay the interest, penalties and fees and reconstituting all these pension funds.”

Greg is currently paying $8,976 per year in property taxes on his home, about 1.6 percent of the Cook County Assessor claimed value of $541,430.

“Primarily [the taxes] are used to pay off the debt [the government has] incurred and the interest on the debt they’ve incurred in order to try to avoid going totally belly up,” Greg said. “Effectively, 90 percent of the money that the real estate taxes are collected to pay for don’t go to where they’re supposed to go. They’re paying off interest. They’ve robbed the pension funds of the Chicago Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department and the Fire Department—they’ve robbed and pillaged all these things and now they’re under a lot of scrutiny to go and reconstitute those funds…”

Indiana has a hard 1 percent cap on property taxes. This means local governments are not allowed under state law to charge homeowner’s more than 1 percent of their home’s assessed value per year. The average property tax rate for the state of Indiana is 0.89 percent. Meanwhile, the average property tax rate in Illinois is 2.3 percent.

“A one percent hard cap would be interesting…but what if you didn’t even need one percent, what if you got even lower with property taxes? That operates under the presumption that property taxes should always go higher,” Greg said. “But, if you can actually balance your budget, you might actually be able to reduce the amount of annual input. I don’t want there to be a presumption that the rates should always go up.”

If Greg lived in Indiana the most he could be charged in property taxes would be $5,414 per year or $3,562 less than what he currently pays in Illinois.

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