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October 20, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Urges Lawmakers to Provide Immediate Property Tax Relief in Illinois
Asks for Restoration of the 7% Expanded Homeowner Exemption for Taxpayers

CHICAGO Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today enthusiastically answered Cook County Assessor James Houlihan's call and offered to host a meeting with legislative leaders to discuss finding a solution to rising property tax bills being felt by homeowners throughout the Chicagoland area.

The Governor today joins Cook County Assessor James Houlihan and Mayor Richard Daley in asking that lawmakers provide immediate relief to taxpayers by restoring the 7% Expanded Homeowner Exemption and raising it to $40,000 permanently. Leaders in the House of Representatives last year amended the law and opted to phase out the money saving exemption over the next three years.

“In these hard economic times, we must make sure that people can stay in their homes and not let soaring property tax bills force them out,” Governor Blagojevich said. “By increasing the homeowner exemption, we can provide immediate and substantial relief to those who need it the most.”

“I am offering to host a meeting with the legislative leaders and Assessor Houlihan to find a solution to keep people in their homes."

Homes in appreciating areas in Chicago saw their taxes go up about $450 - $700 this year. Those same homes will see their taxes go up about $1,500 total by 2010, just in time for a new reassessment.


Under the proposal to increase the Expanded Homeowner Exemption and make it permanent, there would be tax relief of up to $1,000 per household in Chicago next year, and up to $1,750 in property tax relief per household by 2010.


According to the Assessor’s office, over 75% of Cook County homeowners will benefit from the plan.


In 2003, the General Assembly passed a three year property tax solution called the 7%  Expanded Homeowner Exemption.  This law increased the Homeowner Exemption from $4,500 to $20,000.  The Homeowner Exemption is an exemption that most property tax owners can subtract from the taxable value of their home (Equalized Assessed Value or EAV) when calculating property taxes. 


Last year the law was amended by leaders in the House of Representatives to phase out the benefit while simultaneously reducing the 7% solution over the next three years from $33,000 in the first year, to $26,000 in the second, to $20,000 in the third, and terminating the exemption in its fourth year – which would result in the doubling or tripling of some homeowner’s property tax bill.


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