Illinois REALTORS®Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Julie Sullivan prepared to speak during a Committee of the Whole hearing in the Illinois House of Representatives on Friday. Source: Illinois General Assembly
The Illinois General Assembly has been back in Springfield this week for a special session, and Illinois REALTORS® Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Julie Sullivan testified before a Committee of the Whole held in the Illinois House on Friday.
Sullivan was part of a series of speakers on Friday advocating for a property tax freeze. A freeze is a subject of negotiation as lawmakers grapple with how to pass a budget for the state. Sullivan said this was the first time in her decades at the association she had been asked to present before a Committee of the Whole.
Because Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the U.S., Illinois REALTORS® has long advocated for some type of property tax relief.
High property taxes are preventing young consumers across the state from becoming first-time home buyers, said Sullivan, while other homeowners say they can make their house payments but struggle to pay their property taxes. Senior citizens can feel the effects of rising property taxes when their incomes are fixed.
“It affects all levels of homeowners and small businesses as well,” said Sullivan. “It has a cascading effect.”
Sullivan said the association is also supportive of measures which would allow for consolidation of some of the state’s record number of taxation districts.
Illinois leads the U.S. in the number of government entities, and Illinois REALTORS® has long held that there is a direct correlation between the number of taxing bodies and the high level of property taxes.
Gov. Bruce Rauner
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a series of proclamations Thursday, calling members of the General Assembly to Springfield for a special 10-day session to resolve the state budget impasse. The session begins at noon June 21 and continues daily through the June 30 fiscal year deadline.
The proclamation kicking off the special sessions calls the General Assembly back to Springfield for “considering legislation, new or pending, which addresses a balanced budget and structural reforms including but not limited to property tax relief, job creation, worker’s compensation reform, government consolidation, education, term limits, pension reform and spending limitations.”
On Wednesday, just a day before Rauner’s announcement, House and Senate Republicans announced they had developed a balanced budget plan.
“Republicans in the General Assembly have laid out a compromise budget plan that I can sign,” Gov. Rauner said. “It provides a true path to property tax reduction and it reforms the way our state operates to reduce wasteful spending. It will fund our schools and human services, while spurring economic growth and job creation. It is a true compromise – and one I hope the majority in the General Assembly will accept.”
When the spring session ended on May 31, the state did not have a budget agreement despite several proposals developed in the House and Senate during previous weeks.