Jim Dodge traces Illinois’ spiraling property tax crisis all the way back to the days of the Great Recession.
“The state never really recovered from that period of free-fall,” Dodge told the Prairie State Wire. “In Chicago, home prices have recovered slower than just about anywhere else. That has everything to do with the state not growing like it should and with Springfield not operating as it should.”
Property data experts ATTOM Data Solutions recently reported that 387,854 property owners across the state owe mortgages of at least 25 percent more on their loans than their property is worth, also known as “underwater” mortgages.
Dodge, running as a Republican for state treasurer, said it all has to do with the cash-strapped state being desperate for revenue and trying to find it in many of the wrong places.
“We need to be doing things like reducing spending by combining the comptroller and treasurer’s office,” he said. “As treasurer, I will be the voice of the taxpayer, explaining to them what’s happening and what we need to be doing to really get things under control.”
Boone, Montgomery and Bond Counties have the highest percentage of property owners with underwater mortgages. Forty percent of Boone County property owners are seriously underwater, followed by 38 percent of those in Montgomery and 37 percent in Bond.
Dodge doesn’t think enough is being done in Springfield to remedy the situation and he doesn’t see that changing until after November’s election, he said.
“I think everybody still understands that Illinois is still a great state and it is just a few bad decisions in Springfield away from being there,” he said. “But we really won’t know what’s coming until after November when we see what decisions are made by the voters and what path they put us on. Right now, all you hear from everyone is that taxes are too high, the state’s a financial mess, and all that leads back to Springfield and the taxpayer versus the machine battle that’s being waged.