Tax leaders applaud Pappas debt report and recommendations
Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas on Monday posted her most recent local government debt report, which this year includes a unique way to measure those growing obligations. The Treasurer attributed debt to properties, rather than per person, to more accurately reflect the burdens placed on those who will eventually pay the bills. Others are praising the effort.
Laurence Msall, President of the Civic Federation, quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business:
“It is an important report because it allows individual citizens, with very little effort, to identify all of the government agencies and the liabilities that attach to their property as a result of those governments, both the past levying of property taxes and likely future levying to pay for the unfunded debt and other liabilities,” says Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation of Chicago. He hopes the data spurs renewed conversations about consolidating units of government and statewide pension reform.
Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce:
“We commend Treasurer Pappas’ report, which provides transparency into the true cost of government for homeowners, commercial property owners and taxpayers. In a nutshell, these findings indicate property owners essentially have a second mortgage from day one due to the legacy costs of pensions and other government debt. For the first time, your neighbor or small business owner now can have a better understanding of how government’s inability to solve our fiscal challenges directly impacts their bottom line and the growth of our economy. The Chamber continues to advocate for solutions that include pension reform and consolidation of government.”
Farzin Panang, Executive Director of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago:
“While the Chicagoland economy features significant strengths, our debt and property taxes are weaknesses we must address if we want to grow our region,” Parang said, noting that study also points out commercial property owners pay much higher taxes than homeowners in Cook County.
“This study highlights how heavily businesses subsidize residential taxpayers in Cook County — and the urgent need for reform,” Panang said. “A fairer property tax system that promotes economic growth is key to mitigating the increasing burden facing both commercial and residential taxpayers. Treasurer Pappas continues to set the bar for transparency in our property tax system, and we look forward to her next publication.”
Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability, quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business:
“The majority of the data really indicate that the debt burden is highest and most concentrated—from a dollar value per value of property—for communities of color than it is for more white, more affluent communities,” says Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability.
And, Treasurer Maria Pappas notes:
“Property purchases in Cook County come with a hidden credit card balance, in the form of local government debt,” Pappas said. “Property owners end up paying down that debt, on top of also covering their mortgage, utility and maintenance costs.”
All were talking about Treasurer Pappas’ new debt study, a groundbreaking effort that allows property owners to determine how much local government debt is attached to their property.
The debt study can be found here.
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