In response to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed $600M property tax increase, Ald. Joe Moreno (1) and the Progressive Caucus are each introducing property tax rebate plans at today’s Council meeting. Both plans would create a new city bureaucracy to manage them, and as rebates, they would require sending money back to taxpayers, unlike an exemption, which would not require taxpayers to pay the tax in the first place.
Moreno’s rebate plan is intended for households earning less than $100,000 a year. Homeowners would apply for the program with the Department of Finance, and the City’s Chief Financial Officer, Carole Brown, would establish and administer it. The CFO could call on the Office of Compliance to conduct eligibility audits. Ald. Pat Dowell (3), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), Ald. Michael Scott (24), Ald. Danny Solis (25), Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30), and Ald. Joe Moore (49) are co-sponsors.
The dollar amount homeowners would get back is multiplied by the difference in the City’s real estate tax assessment rate from last year to this year, then multiplied by the equalized assessed value of the home. Read the formula with an example here.
According to the formula provided by Ald. Moreno’s Legislative Director Evelyn Rodriguez, a home with $50,000 a year in income worth $250,000 could be eligible for a rebate just over $208, delivered by check. The Chicago Tribune estimates that if Emanuel’s proposed increases were in effect this year, the total bill on a $250,000 home would go up by $342, to $4,504. Rodriguez tells Aldertrack about 270,000 Chicago households would be eligible to apply for the program.
“The ordinance has received a warm reception from the Mayor’s office and it continues to garner support from my colleagues,” Moreno said, also drawing attention to a similar Progressive Caucus proposal released earlier this week, “I am also encouraged that other aldermen have released proposals and ideas with the spirit of the RELIEF ordinance. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure a tax rebate program such as the one I’m proposing receives widespread support.”
The Progressive Caucus rebate is also tied to income, but it would only help those living 400% below the federal poverty line. The ordinance’s formula would provide for a $400 rebate for a single median income homeowner of a property valued at $250,000. It makes use of fund set aside from the City’s 2010 Property Tax Rebate program, started under Mayor Daley, but under-marketed, according to aldermen. In 2010 the City allocated $35M for a rebate, but just over $2M was distributed.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) is also introducing his an ordinance proposing the City switch from private internet services to a faster, more reliable fiber optic network. He estimates the city could “easily” save $100M in the first two or three years after making the switch. His ordinance calls on Innovation and Technology Commissioner Brenna Berman to develop a plan to connect all 50 aldermanic offices and City Department facilities to the existing fiber optic network the City already uses for OEMC within 90 days.