No vote taken on a badly drafted bill for Illinois homeowners

Greg St. AubinBottom line, Illinois House Bill 506 is a very poorly written bill. An initiative of the Cook County Assessor, the bill adds language to the Property Tax Code that would empower county assessors to authorize a tax lien and penalties for those who have been granted one (or more) erroneous homestead exemptions.

While the Illinois Association of REALTORS® believes that property taxpayers should not be allowed to claim homestead exemptions they do not qualify for, we strongly oppose homeowners being penalized if the error is not theirs nor if there is not “knowing or willful” intent to give false information.

That was the message delivered to Illinois lawmakers during veto session by IAR lobbyists in pressing testimony in House and Senate committees as well as via an IAR Call for Action that resulted in hundreds of e-mails from Illinois REALTORS® asking for a no-vote on this bill that could negatively affect homeowners across the state.

As a result, the bill was NOT called for a vote last week during the Illinois General Assembly’s fall veto session and, thus, it was not sent on to the Governor for signature. Which means the bill could be amended to address issues raised by Illinois REALTORS® or it could join the ranks of the thousands of bad ideas that IAR works to stop in the name of protecting private property rights.

Why, again, is HB506 such a bad bill?

The core problem here is that under the current system, most homestead exemptions are automatically renewed from year to year. If a homeowner’s status changes and they become ineligible for a particular exemption, unless they affirmatively take action to remove the exemption, they could wind up facing back taxes and hefty penalties and interest, which become a tax lien on the property.

One of  the points raised by IAR has been that if we are going to have a system that imposes these kinds of penalties, then that system is also going to have to include a process whereby a homeowner annually applies or affirms that they are eligible for whatever exemptions they are claiming. That way, the enforcement is targeted at those who have affirmatively stated that they qualify for something they are not entitled to claim.

IAR thanks its members who answered the Call for Action last week. It made a difference.

Stay tuned for the latest on this bill at And next time you receive an IAR Call for Action by e-mail, please take a moment to send a message to your state lawmaker.

This entry was posted in Government Affairs and tagged , by Greg St. Aubin. Bookmark the permalink.

About Greg St. Aubin

Greg St. Aubin is Director of Governmental Affairs for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. He carries out and supervises the implementation of the governmental affairs programs, policies, and positions of the Association. He provides input on the formulation of IAR positions on public policy issues, and advocates the Association’s positions through direct contact with state, local, and federal lawmakers and other officials, and through interaction with other interest groups. He directs and supervises the Governmental Affairs staff. St. Aubin provides staff support to the Public Policy and Government Affairs Member Involvement Group, the REALTORS® Political Action Committee, and various task forces and working groups which are appointed from time to time.

3 thoughts on “No vote taken on a badly drafted bill for Illinois homeowners

  1. So the IAR should have focused on that fact that all these tax cheaters get away with fraud & the rest of the taxpayers have to foot the bill. IAR’s position was the law is flawed but we won’t help you adopt one that is better to end the corruption.

  2. Sorry , I disagree, especially when it comes to Section 8 landlords, who are not paying their fair share of taxes. I find it a bit odd that someone would pay under a $1,000 annually for property taxes on a property , they purchased for a steal, rehabbed and are renting out for over a $1,000 a month . It is called common sense.

  3. Pingback: Answering the Call to Action

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