New Legislation Creates County-based Taxpayer Action Board, Extends "7% Solution" Alternative Exemption for a Year
CHICAGO - May 2, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today unveiled legislation that will provide extensive and much-needed property tax relief to millions of taxpayers while also pressing for greater citizen participation and openness in the tax assessment process.
This week, Governor Quinn will present the legislation, called the Homeowner's Property Tax Relief Initiative of 2010, to the Illinois General Assembly.
"Throughout my public life I have fought for taxpayers and for tax fairness. This legislation is an important step in achieving these important goals and I am proud to present this legislation to the General Assembly," said Governor Quinn. "I urge state lawmakers to consider this bill and to make it the law of the land."
Governor Quinn's Homeowner's Property Tax Relief Initiative of 2010, HB 6863, centers on three major points:
Create the Taxpayer Action Board. Under the proposed legislation, every county in Illinois could form a Taxpayer Action Board either through a county board resolution or petition drive and ballot referendum.
The Taxpayer Action Board would be membership-only group modeled after the highly-successful Citizens Utility Board (CUB), a statewide utility watchdog and consumer advocate. In contrast, the Taxpayer Action Board would advocate for the state's property taxpayers.
The Taxpayer Action Board would be an independent, non-partisan advocacy group designed to empower taxpayers and assist in appealing their property tax bills and assessments.
"Where one taxpayer may have a small voice, millions of state taxpayers can be heard in all 102 Illinois counties by coming together as the Taxpayer Action Board," said Governor Quinn, who assisted in starting CUB and is a longtime proponent of a Taxpayer Action Board.
Membership information about the Taxpayer Action Board will be distributed in mailings, such as drivers' license renewals, tax forms, property tax bills and assessment notices, according to the proposed legislation.
Extend the 7% solution. The proposed legislation would extend the so-called "7% Solution" for one year.
It reduces homeowners' taxable value by $20,000. This exemption was set to expire this year, reverting back to a general homestead exemption of $5,000.
Sunshine in Assessments. The proposed legislation calls for opening up the property tax assessment process to average taxpayers.
The Act calls for greater disclosure and easier access to key information on assessment notices and property tax bills, including: median level of assessment; comparable sales statistics; and property assessment tools.
Governor Quinn's proposal also suggests the General Assembly convene hearings to look into the way Cook County conducts assessment and appraisal of residential property. The bill would require the state Department of Revenue to provide reasonable assistance in any such effort.
"Swift passage of this legislation will provide taxpayers much-needed relief during a dire economic time for our state and country," said Governor Quinn. "We can't wait any longer for property tax relief and reform."