WBEZ | property tax http://www.wbez.org/tags/property-tax Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Emanuel, Rauner in war of words http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-rauner-war-words-113563 <p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner are turning up their heated political rhetoric against one another.</p><div style="text-align: justify;">The two have been in a public war of words recently, as each politician tries to get something from the other.</div><p style="text-align: justify;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_720580042438.jpg" style="height: 267px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)" /></p><div style="text-align: justify;">Emanuel has promised Chicagoans relief on property taxes, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-springfield-lawmakers-%E2%80%9Chave-to%E2%80%9D-break-stalemate-help-chicago-113486" target="_blank">he needs state lawmakers&rsquo; help</a>.</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">His plan includes protections for residents whose homes are worth less than $250,000, and a doubling of the homeowners exemption, two things that can only be done in Springfield.</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">Emanuel also wants Rauner to sign off on a measure changing how the financially-struggling police and firefighters&rsquo; pensions are funded.</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">Rauner meanwhile has said he wants Emanuel to sign off on&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">some of his priorities, including limits to collective bargaining.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">Emanuel and Rauner, who are friends privately, have gone back and forth publicly for weeks, but on Wednesday and Thursday, they cranked up the heat.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a very strange economic strategy to try and hurt your economic engine, that&rsquo;s how you&rsquo;re gonna grow the economy,&rdquo; Emanuel told reporters Wednesday. &ldquo;Let me ask it this way, to all of you: Name me a governor in the other 49 states that is attacking the economic engine of their state. Is the gov of Washington state going after Seattle? Is the Gov of Oregon going after Portland?&rdquo;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/%E2%80%98trust-issues%E2%80%99-springfield-have-aldermen-looking-property-tax-relief-plan-b-113491" target="_blank">RELATED:&nbsp;&lsquo;Trust issues&rsquo; with Springfield have aldermen looking for property tax relief plan B</a></div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_963329869976_0.jpg" style="text-align: justify; height: 232px; width: 310px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)" /></p><div style="text-align: justify;">Rauner spokesman Mike Schimpf, sent an email to reporters in response:</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;It&#39;s clear that less than 24 hours after passing the largest property tax hike in city history, the mayor is already laying the groundwork for another tax hike because he is refusing to engage in passing structural reforms that will save Chicago taxpayer (sic) hundreds of millions of dollars,&rdquo; Schrimpf said.</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;The mayor needs to get serious about whether he is going to be a reformer or just another tax-and-spend politician who wants to blame someone else for their failures.&quot;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: justify;"><em>Tony Arnold and Lauren Chooljian cover politics for WBEZ. Follow them at <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a> and<a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank"> @laurenchooljian.</a></em></div><div style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 17:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-rauner-war-words-113563 Morning Shift: October 1, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-01/morning-shift-october-1-2015-113142 <p><p>It&#39;s October 1, which means it&#39;s time to pull out the checkbook and write that rent check. And while you do that, consider this: Your <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-01/property-tax-hike-will-hit-renters-too-113141">rent could go up</a> under Mayor Emanuel&#39;s proposed property tax increase.</p><p>And we all have musical blind spots, whether it&rsquo;s free jazz, punk rock, even some R&amp;B. We talk to Chicago musician and producer John Corbett who takes us inside some of those genres and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-01/new-book-trains-listeners-how-celebrate-all-music-113139">help us understand them</a>.</p><p>Plus a sneak peek at this year&#39;s<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-01/how-el-ni%C3%B1o-could-affect-chicago%E2%80%99s-winter-113138"> winter weather</a> and a conversation with one of this year&#39;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-01/university-chicago-biologist-receives-macarthur-genius-grant">MacArthur Genius winners</a>, who helps us understand what a computational biologist is.</p></p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-01/morning-shift-october-1-2015-113142 Mayor Rahm Emanuel reveals budget http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-22/mayor-rahm-emanuel-reveals-budget-113027 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahm budget.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel presents his <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-calls-nearly-600-million-property-tax-hike-113019">official budget</a> to City Council today. He&rsquo;s proposing a huge property tax hike and garbage collection fees, but they&rsquo;re not official until we see them in the budget. WBEZ political reporter <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Lauren Chooljian</a> joins us to break down what we know now, and how it might affect Chicago residents.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 11:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-22/mayor-rahm-emanuel-reveals-budget-113027 Morning Shift: September 9, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-09/morning-shift-september-9-2015-112875 <p><p>First up, Crain&#39;s Chicago Business real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin tells us how a Chicago property tax hike would affect <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-09/how-mayor%E2%80%99s-possible-property-tax-hike-could-affect-homeowners">everyone from homeowners to renters</a>.</p><p>Then, Comedian Stephen Colbert started his new role as host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS last night. Someone who certainly caught the debut of Colbert in the seat once occupied by David Letterman was Chicago writer Mike Thomas. His most recent story in the Chicago Reader traces Colbert&rsquo;s time in Chicago and how those 8 years set the stage for who he is today as a comedian and writer. Thomas stops by with insight on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-09/dave%E2%80%99s-out-stephen%E2%80%99s-colbert%E2%80%99s-comedy-has-deep-chicago-roots">Colbert&rsquo;s formative years </a>as a performer.</p><p>And from TV to radio...back in the heyday of radio drama there was an African American Chicago writer named Richard Durham. Durham created a popular weekly radio show called Destination Freedom which focused on the lives of notable African Americans at a time when mainstream media did not. We talk with the author of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-09/word-warrior-tells-story-important-relatively-unknown-chicago">new book on Durham</a>.</p><p>Reclaimed Soul&rsquo;s Ayana Contreras is in with some of her favorite tunes by the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-09/reclaimed-soul-favorites-aretha-franklin-112869">Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin</a>, who recently made news by getting a film about her pulled from the Telluride Film Festival.</p></p> Wed, 09 Sep 2015 12:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-09/morning-shift-september-9-2015-112875 How Mayor’s possible property tax hike could affect homeowners http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-09/how-mayor%E2%80%99s-possible-property-tax-hike-could-affect-homeowners <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/chicago Ron Reiring_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>All the pressure will be on Chicago&rsquo;s 50 aldermen when Mayor Rahm Emanuel formally introduces what could be the largest property tax increase in modern Chicago history as part of his budget plan. That&rsquo;s because they will be the ones ultimately deciding whether to hit property owners with a bigger tax bill. The mayor says the property tax hike and other measures are necessary to keep the city afloat. The increase in property taxes could total between $450 million and $550 million and could impact the housing markets in both the city and the suburbs. Here to tell us and how Chicago fares when it comes to other municipalities in Cook County is Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 09 Sep 2015 12:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-09/how-mayor%E2%80%99s-possible-property-tax-hike-could-affect-homeowners Progressive alderman blasts Emanuel property tax increase http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2015-09-03/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase <p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving an early peek at his 2016 budget and it includes a hefty property tax hike - and other measures to raise revenue - mostly in the name of paying down the city&rsquo;s mounting pension debts. The City Council&rsquo;s Progressive Caucus put out a statement today blasting the mayor&#39;s 2016 budget plan, for squeezing Chicago&rsquo;s working class families. Alderman John Arena, a long-standing member of the Progressive Caucus joins Melba Lara to talk about this budget.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>(TRANSCRIPT)</p><div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, a property tax increase is not really a surprise for anyone who was paying attention during the race for mayor, but the scope of this seems unprecedented.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It absolutely is and it&rsquo;s startling because the mayor was critical of his opposition about past property tax increases, so to take this step without looking at a broader picture on how we solve the budget crisis, and using the tax increase as a last and least effect on closing the gap seems just too quick.</div><div id="fb-root"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/JohnArenaChicago/posts/990222041041471" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/caucus%20fb%20post.PNG" style="height: 560px; width: 540px;" title="A screenshot of 45th Ward Alderman, John Arena's official Facebook page is captured. The picture shows a post from the Arena, calling the public to action. (WBEZ)" /></a></div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Progressive Caucus has been saying today that the tax increase will disproportionately hurt working class families. What do you propose then to ease the burden on them?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well,&nbsp;we introduced some ideas to the mayor - a pretty wide-ranging mix of ideas. Some of them were as simple as imposing higher billboard fees. The billboard companies make huge profits on the advertising, and some of their fees are as low as $50-$200 and&nbsp;they&#39;re popping up all over the place. Those are the folks we should be going to first, instead of a pensioner who&rsquo;s going to see a reduction in benefits...as these challenges to the pension system go on; who have seen higher healthcare costs be imposed on them by the city and by the state; and then are going to be doubly hit because they&rsquo;re going to see a massive property tax increase. We&rsquo;re going to be forcing these folks into very difficult positions. Folks making less than $50,000 a year are going to be struggling to make ends meet.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And Alderman Arena we&rsquo;re hearing a lot about of course the big property tax increase proposed, we&rsquo;ve heard about some fees going up...what about cuts?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, that&rsquo;s&nbsp;a difficult&hellip;&nbsp;we&rsquo;ve been going through the budget and I know the mayor has done this and I will give him credit for finding ways to do that. But, what we see is it&rsquo;s becoming harder and harder to provide services in a timely manner. We look at things and keep saying &lsquo;oh we just have to keep cutting personnel&rsquo;, but at some point we get to the point where we&rsquo;re hitting bone - and I think we&rsquo;re pretty much there. This again has to be... a more nuanced approach than just a heavy hand of a straight property tax increase.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, I did want to play this piece of tape from Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has said that these increases will be painful, but it will finally give the city a permanent fix for the nagging financial problems.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div><em>MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (TAPE)</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>&ldquo;And by the time we&rsquo;re done, in the four years the structural deficit we inherited in 2011 will be eliminated. All the gimmicks and shenanigans that were built up in the system to mask what the real cost of our government was from&nbsp;&lsquo;scoop-and-toss&rsquo;,&nbsp;to raiding the rainy day fund, to borrowing from the future to pay for the present, to using one-time revenue sources - all those gimmicks will be out of the system, and we will have finally righted our financial ship.&rdquo;</em></div></blockquote><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That&rsquo;s Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Alderman Arena, will this be a permanent fix?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, whether it&rsquo;s a permanent fix still has to be determined. The idea of moving away from &lsquo;scoop-and-toss&rsquo; and policies that he continued from the previous administration without really having a plan for how&nbsp;we&#39;re&nbsp;going to recover those lost dollars except for going to a property tax increase, I call that bad planning.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I know that some groups have suggested the city tap TIF [Tax Increment Financing] money. Is that an option that can be explored?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well,&nbsp;the mayor is codifying that we surplus 25%. I have...and my colleagues have called for a higher percent of TIF &#39;surplusing&#39;&nbsp;each year from the very beginning when I came into office; same time as the mayor. You know, I think 25% is meagerly, I think there&rsquo;s more money sitting there unused, we can move that up to 50% or 75% relatively quickly and help bring more money into the system. And again, we have to do this in an additive way. Find every single place that we can go to take money that&rsquo;s sitting idle and move it into our operating budget so that we make sure we have a property tax increase that&rsquo;s manageable and doesn&rsquo;t shut down our local neighborhood economies, because that&rsquo;s the biggest challenge I see here in the 45th Ward where we&rsquo;re starting to see some gains and new businesses opening, but if the seniors, if the local families here don&rsquo;t have discretionary money to get an ice cream cone, to get a meal out in the new businesses, we&rsquo;re going to start seeing closures again.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>upset Do you think you&rsquo;re going to be triggering an exodus from the City of Chicago?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, I think Chicago is resilient and I think people have&nbsp;commitment&nbsp;to the city. We hear that a lot whenever we impose any kind of tax. I think Chicago is very diverse, I think it has a great economy. We have to be careful how we move that economy. Yeah, it&rsquo;s going to force some people to make hard choices. I think we&rsquo;re going to weather through this, and I think with the work the caucus is doing in bringing ideas to the table that are more equitable than just this sort of straight line tax, I think we can figure out a way by the time we get to a budget that we see as a final budget that gets voted on that it&lsquo;s not just this straight line tax.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Alderman Arena, you have proposed in the past a city income tax. Do you think that&rsquo;s workable?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ALDERMAN ARENA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Yeah, we got some numbers back from the budget office when we presented this to them, and by their numbers, if you exempted the first 50,000 of income of all employees, a half a percent on income would bring in $190 million. And what&rsquo;s key about that is one, it protects the lower income brackets from exposure to this, and secondly, it&rsquo;s going to impose a tax on those&nbsp;commuters&nbsp;that come into the city, earn their salaries here, use our infrastructure and go back home. So it&rsquo;s a more diverse tax, it loops in a wider net if you will, and it protects that lower income bracket which is very important to the Progressive Caucus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MELBA LARA</div><div>Alderman John Arena of the Chicago City Council, thanks for talking with us today.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&mdash; <em><a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase" target="_blank">All Things Considered</a></em></p></p> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2015-09-03/progressive-alderman-blasts-emanuel-property-tax-increase Mayor Emanuel to ask for mega property tax hike http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-03/mayor-emanuel-ask-mega-property-tax-hike-112822 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rahm WBEZ Robert Wildeboer.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been in front of residents this week asking for ideas on how to balance the city budget. But the Mayor and his budget team may already be making some moves to bring in more cash. Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times are reporting this morning that the Mayor is considering the largest property tax hike in decades to bring money to the seriously underfunded fire and police pensions. There could be a garbage tax collection fee as well. Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter Hal Dardick <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-property-tax-hike-met-0903-20150902-story.html">has details</a> on how these budget decisions would shake out for residents.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-03/mayor-emanuel-ask-mega-property-tax-hike-112822 Quinn signs Chicago pension bill as Emanuel backs off property tax hike http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-signs-chicago-pension-bill-emanuel-backs-property-tax-hike-110306 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Pat-Quinn-AP-Seth-Perlman-(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 5:15 p.m.</em></p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a controversial overhaul of two Chicago pension systems into law on Monday, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel vowed he wouldn&#39;t raise property taxes for at least a year to pay for the pension changes.</p><p>Those changes, which were pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and approved by state lawmakers in April, would scale back retirement benefits and requite City Hall to pump more money into the troubled pension funds for laborers and municipal workers. The municipal fund is projected to have only 37 percent of the money it will need in the future, while fund for laborers will have just over half the money it will need.</p><p>To bolster the two ailing pension funds, Emanuel had been pushing to raise Chicago property taxes by $50 million a year, netting the city $750 million dollars in new revenue over a five-year phase-in period. Emanuel backed off that plan after Quinn signed the bill on Monday.</p><p>In a statement released after Monday&#39;s bill signing, Quinn reiterated his disdain for that approach.</p><p>&quot;I strongly urge the Mayor and City Council to follow our lead and identify a comprehensive, balanced solution to Chicago&#39;s pension crisis,&quot; Quinn wrote, referring to a recent overhaul of the state&#39;s pension systems. &quot;Chicago&#39;s finances can and should be set on the track to long-term stability in a way that does not hit homeowners the hardest.&quot;</p><p>In a phone interview with WBEZ minutes after the governor&#39;s office announced he&#39;d signed the bill, Emanuel suggested the city could raise its monthly telephone tax to free up more money for pensions.</p><p>&quot;It gives us the opportunity now to take property taxes off the table for the first year,&quot; Emanuel said.</p><p>On Friday, Quinn signed a law that will allow Chicago to increase its monthly telephone tax from the current $2.50 to $3.90, which some speculated could be used to pay for pensions. The new revenue must fund the city&#39;s 911 call system, but a hike would also make more money available for the higher city pension contributions required by the new law.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re gonna find a lot of efficiences and savings,&quot; Emanuel said. &quot;We now have a year to see alternatives, and we have the breathing room now to do that, which we secured.&quot;</p><p>The mayor would not say how he&#39;d pay for higher pension costs after next year, nor did he outline any fix for the ailing pension funds for police, firefighters and Chicago teachers. But the new tack relieves him of having to convince aldermen to raise property taxes, just months before the citywide elections in February 2015. It also gets Quinn out of a political pickle.</p><p>Easing the property tax burden on Illinoisans has been a pillar of the governor&rsquo;s 2015 state budget proposal. Signing the bill would have opened up the governor to more attacks from his Republican gubernatorial challenger, Bruce Rauner, who <a href="http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/robo-calls-raise-rauner-rahm-rift/tue-04222014-613pm">has already argued</a> that Quinn would be paving the way for a tax increase with his signature.</p><p>The mayor&#39;s administration says the pension bill signed Monday would solve about half of Chicago&rsquo;s roughly $20 billion public pension problem, largely by cutting back benefits for current and future retirees. But it could take decades for those penison funds to become healthy again.</p><p>More than 22,000 retirees would lose their 3 percent compounding annual benefit increase. Instead, retirees would see their pension checks increase at a flat 3 percent or half the rate of inflation, whichever is less. And all but the poorest workers would receive no increase at all in 2017, 2019 and 2025.</p><p>That means, under the bill&rsquo;s provisions, a retiree with a $35,500 annual pension would see their benefit grow to nearly $40,000 by 2025, according to a WBEZ analysis. But under the current system, their pension would be about $49,000 by that time.</p><p>More than 34,000 current city workers would have to pay more into the pension systems, but get less out of it once they retire. By 2019, workers would be paying 11 percent of each paycheck toward retirement, compared to the current 8.5 percent. That contribution rate would drop to 9.75 percent once the pension funds are healthy, which could take decades.</p><p>City Hall would also pay more. The bill would finally do away with the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/experts-say-chicago-has-public-pension-system-set-fail-109329">anachronistic funding formula</a> Chicago has used for decades to calculate its annual pension contributions, which is a primary cause of the current underfunding crisis. And if future politicians try to skimp on payments, the pension funds will be empowered to take City Hall to court, while the state could begin intercepting the city&rsquo;s share of state money.</p><p>Meanwhile, a coalition of powerful city workers&#39; unions released a statement late Monday slamming the governor&#39;s action because they believe the bill violates a part of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con13.htm">Illinois Constitution</a>&nbsp;that says pension benefits &ldquo;shall not be diminished or impaired.&rdquo;</p><p>&quot;Unfortunately, some elected officials have chosen to ignore the constitution...opting instead to slash the retirement life savings of our city&#39;s public health professionals, teachers&#39; aides, librarians, cafeteria workers, and other public employees and retirees,&quot; the statement reads. &quot;The Mayor&#39;s plan is unfair and unconstitutional, and our unions intend to seek justice and will be preparing to file suit.&quot;</p><p>Gov. Quinn has talked about the Chicago pension plan in the context of a tax system that he says allows municipalities and local governments to rely too much on property tax rates to pay their bills.</p><p>&ldquo;The property tax is not based on ability to pay,&rdquo; Quinn told an audience of civic and political leaders earlier this year. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re using a 19th century property tax system to fund the most important part of the 21st century: educating our students.&rdquo;</p><p>Quinn&rsquo;s Republican opponent in the November gubernatorial election, Bruce Rauner, has said he would veto the bill because of the calls for higher property taxes on Chicago residents. Rauner even went so far as to release automated phone calls, urging residents to call their state representative or senator to vote against the bill while it was being debated in Springfield.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe"><em>Alex Keefe</em></a><em> is political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on </em><a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics"><em>Twitter</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028"><em>Google+</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him </em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p><p style="margin-left:.5in;">&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 09 Jun 2014 10:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-signs-chicago-pension-bill-emanuel-backs-property-tax-hike-110306 Activists say property tax for hospitals sends message on accountability http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-say-property-tax-hospitals-sends-message-accountability-90717 <p><p>A coalition of activist groups in Illinois say they support the state's decision to deny tax exemptions for three non-profit hospitals.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Revenue ruled yesterday that Northwestern's Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, Edward Hospital in Naperville and Decatur Memorial Hospital in Decatur weren't meeting charity care levels required for property tax exemptions</p><p>Hannah Gelder, spokeswoman for the Fair Care Coalition, said it's not that activists wants hospitals in Illinois to lose money, they want hospitals to be held accountable.<br> <br> "We don't have an opinion one way or another--we want to protect our hospitals so we believe it's okay for them to get property tax breaks, so long as they're acting as a charitable institution," Gelder said. "The problem we see in our communities is that many of the hospitals aren't actually pulling their weight in terms of providing free and reduced price care to people who are uninsured."<br> <br> All three hospitals have come out against the ruling. In a statement, Northwestern's Prentice Women's Hospital said it had been kept in the dark about the decision. "We disagree with the Department of Revenue's decision to deny Northwestern's Prentice Women Hospital its property tax exemption and do not know the criteria for the ruling.&nbsp; Given today's ruling, we will begin a process to review all of our options," it said.</p><p>For State Senator Iris Martinez, the ruling is evidence that lawmakers need to come together to provide legal means of accountability for non-profit hospitals. She's calling for a public hearing in hopes that government members and hospital representatives can come up with a solution.</p><p>Martinez introduced a bill early this year that would require all non-profit hospitals to give 3.5 percent of their revenue toward charity care. It has been in committee since March.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 17 Aug 2011 20:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-say-property-tax-hospitals-sends-message-accountability-90717 Three Illinois hospitals may lose tax-exempt status http://www.wbez.org/story/three-illinois-hospitals-may-lose-tax-exempt-status-90677 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//archives/images/cityroom/848_20090330g_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>The Illinois Department of Revenue announced Tuesday that three Illinois hospitals are in danger of losing their tax-exempt status. They are Northwestern Memorial's Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, Edward Hospital in Naperville and Decatur Memorial Hospital in Decatur.</p><p>The department's ruling comes during an ongoing battle in Illinois over the tax-exempt status of hospitals. An Illinois Supreme Court case from 1968 established five criteria that hospitals have to meet to qualify as "charities."&nbsp;</p><p>Illinois Department of Revenue spokeswoman Susan Hofer says they are: "a charity may not have stock, capital or shareholders; a charity derives its funds mainly from private and public charities; a charity dispenses charity to all who need it and those who apply for it; a charity does not provide gain or profit in a private sense to any person connected with it; a charity places no obstacles in the way of those who need and would avail themselves of that charity."</p><p>If hospitals meet those criteria, the institutions become exempt from taxes on all their property, including everything from hospital rooms, to gift shops, to parking lots. Last year the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that downstate Provena Hospital didn't qualify, and therefore had to start paying property tax.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Revenue now uses the Provena ruling, alongside the 1968 criteria, as a kind of precedent to guide decisions on charity qualifications. The department doesn't have jurisdiction to investigate every hospital, however. Instead, it can only review hospitals that enter their administrative system when a parcel of a hospital changes ownership or changes use.</p><p>Mark Deaton, General Counsel of the Illinois Hospital Association, said decision makers are interpreting the court's definition of charity far too narrowly. He said if more hospitals lose their status and have to pay property taxes, it would be a serious blow to patients and the growing health care sector -- a sector he &nbsp;calls "one of the few bright spots in the Illinois economy."</p><p>Deaton said patient care could be compromised if more hospitals are forced to pay property taxes.&nbsp;</p><p>"[That] could push hospitals into having to cut back, slow down modernization, slow down hiring, slow down plans to expand services," he said.</p><p>The three hospitals being denied tax exempt status have 60 days to ask an administrative judge to review the decision. Illinois Department of Revenue spokeswoman Susan Hofer says her agency is reviewing the charity status of between ten and 15 additional hospitals.</p></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 21:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/three-illinois-hospitals-may-lose-tax-exempt-status-90677