Ives calls for Berrios to step down as Cook County assessor
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is calling for Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios to resign, arguing that his office has an accuracy rating three times worse than the normal range.
“Today, I join Chris Kennedy in calling for Berrios to step down,” Ives, who is running in the Republican primary to unseat Gov. Bruce Rauner, said in a Dec. 11 press release. “His office has the highest appeal rate to the state property tax appeal board and the highest rate of those appeals being affirmed in favor of the property owner.”
Beyond an overall corrupt system, Ives argued problems in Berrios’ office range from an outdated computer system to a lack of transparency in its method of operations.
Ives has been nearly just as critical of Rauner over the way she said he has handled the situation. “Gov. Rauner is late to the game,” she said of Rauner who now also is calling for Berrios’ ouster. “His call for Berrios to step down is little more than political convenience. He is, once again, trying to hide from his record, while I stand on mine.”
Ives noted that she first called for Berrios' removal from office in February when she filed legislation calling for the creation of a property tax task force that would conduct a statewide evaluation of the system.
“When the Democrat leadership blocked my legislation, I approached the Rauner administration to run the task force through his executive order authority,” she added in the release. “My request was ignored. Despite his promises of property tax reform, Gov. Rauner refused to take charge when he had the chance. He refused to lead on this important issue.”
In filing her legislation, Ives said she had the backing of colleagues and townships assessors, all of whom she said realized that the inaccurate assessments routinely done by Berrios' office are adversely affecting the school funding formula by unfairly shifting the tax burdens of property owners across the state.
“The fact that this is a statewide problem was revealed during a legislative committee hearing on school funding when I questioned superintendents about their property tax evaluations, one superintendent revealed that his county had not undergone a reassessment in 35 years,” she said.
Again, Ives said Rauner shares at least part of the blame for the dysfunction. “Gov. Rauner will try to tell you our property tax system is a 'broken system,'” she said. “That is incorrect. Our property tax system is working exactly as intended by the Chicago Democrats who designed it. It benefits the politically connected at the expense of those in this state without their wealth and clout.”
As for her campaign, Ives has named former Rock Island Rep. Rich Morthland as her running mate, with Chicago GOP Chairman Chris Cleveland serving as her campaign chairman.
Ives, a 52-year-old mother of five and U.S. Military Academy grad, has previously vowed that her campaign will be about restoring “common sense” to the cash-strapped state and regaining the trust of frustrated voters.