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May 16, 2000

$280 Million Rebate shared by 2 Million Residential Homeowners

ADDISON -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation to give Illinois homeowners $280 million in property tax relief - the last piece of a $350 million tax relief package enacted this spring by the General Assembly.

Ryan was joined at the home of Lloyd and Lois Magnuson by Senate President James "Pate" Philip, R-Wood Dale, House Republican Leader Lee Daniels, R-Elmhurst and state Sen. Patrick O'Malley, R-Palos Park. The Magnusons typify the average homeowners who will be assisted by the property tax rebate. The average rebate per household will be $125 and will benefit 2.2 million residential property owners.

"Totaled up, homeowners this fall will receive $280 million in property tax relief, a check that they can use for school expenses for their kids, home improvements or to pay other bills," Ryan said.

House Bill 3876 amends the Illinois Income Tax Act to establish tax rebates for Illinois taxpayers equal to the income tax credit claimed for residential property taxes on a taxpayer's 1999 Illinois income tax return. The rebate is limited to a maximum of $300 for a property owner's principal residence.

House Bill 3876 also amends the State Finance Act to establish the Homeowners' Tax Relief Fund and the Budget Stabilization Fund. The legislation is effective immediately.

"Our economy is booming right now, and there's no reason why state government should not return part of that wealth to taxpayers," Ryan said. "We're not shortchanging public safety with this rebate and we're not hurting schools or services for the elderly or disabled."

House Bill 3876 requires that any unencumbered funds remaining in the Homeowners' Tax Relief Fund on January 1, 2001 be transferred to the Budget Stabilization Fund.

Ryan said there is no history of the State of Illinois offering a property tax rebate. The State of Wisconsin offered a one-time property tax and rent credit payment in 1989 and paid a one-time sales tax rebate in 1999. The States of California and Minnesota also have provided sales tax rebates to taxpayers.

As part of the Fiscal Year 2001 state budget, the General Assembly also approved tax relief plans that help seniors and low-income families. One measure already signed into law by Ryan will increase the number of seniors eligible for the state's "Circuit Breaker" program, a $35 million savings for taxpayers this year. The other part of the package creates a new Earned Income Tax Credit to help the working poor, a savings of $35 million for low-income families. The $350 million tax relief package approved by lawmakers this spring is the latest in a multi-year tax relief effort that has generated nearly $1 billion in savings for Illinois taxpayers.

The chief sponsors of House Bill 3876 were Daniels, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago; state reps. William "Bill" O'Connor, R-Berwyn; Ralph Capparelli, D-Chicago; and Rick Winkel, R-Champaign. In the Senate, joining O'Malley as sponsors were state sens. Christine Radogno, R-LaGrange; Duane Noland, R-Blue Mound; Laura Kent Donahue, R-Quincy; and Chris Lauzen, R-Aurora.


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