Analysis Shows Which Aldermen Get Breaks On Property Taxes

Rahm Property Tax
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel outlines his 2016 proposed budget before the City Council in September 2015. The budget plan included a massive property tax hike and other fees to help close a shortfall and improve the city's underfunded pension system, votes many aldermen called the most difficult of their political careers. M. Spencer Green / Associated Press
Rahm Property Tax
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel outlines his 2016 proposed budget before the City Council in September 2015. The budget plan included a massive property tax hike and other fees to help close a shortfall and improve the city's underfunded pension system, votes many aldermen called the most difficult of their political careers. M. Spencer Green / Associated Press

Analysis Shows Which Aldermen Get Breaks On Property Taxes

Cook County residents got hit with a record property tax hike this week. The taxes will go toward the underfunded police and firefighter pensions. 

But that tax bill does not have to be the end of the process. Taxpayers can enter an appeals process through the Assessor’s Office. Some are luckier than others in getting those appeals granted. 

The Chicago Sun-Times scoured through more than 800,000 tax bills to see how much aldermen and the Mayor forked over. We talk to reporter Tim Novak about his findings.

Correction: Mayor Rahm Emanuel lives in Ravenswood not Ravenswood Manor.

Updated on August 12, 2016:

We heard from Cook County Assessor's Office (CCAO) spokesman Tom Shaer after this segment aired, and agreed to include this response from his office. 

Below is additional information from CCAO that provides further context to the issue:

  • For appeals of Tax Year 2015 assessed value (AV) filed by City of Chicago aldermen, the Cook County Assessor (CCAO) granted no decreases below the AV of the previous [2012] triennial reassessment. All received substantial net increases, even after appeal.
  • Numerous aldermen received no reduction of any amount from CCAO. Some others did win on-appeal reductions from CCAO’s first AV figure for the new triennial.
  • For alderman-owned property (appeals) all net decreases below the previous triennial figure were granted by the Cook County Board of Review (BOR), not (CCAO). The Assessor plays no role in BOR decisions. BOR is a separate and distinct quasi-judicial body independently elected by voters. 
  • The aldermen appeals of CCAO’s new triennial AV lowered their property by an aggregate of only five (5) percent, from $1,100,405 to $1,045,439. That is one-quarter-of-one (0.25) per cent each.
  • It is untrue that “they [Assessor’s Office] don’t give a person appealing any reason…” In fact, the CCAO gives every appellant one or more of 49 categorical reasons for appeal results.