Lethal property taxes propelling residents out of Illinois
According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, at least 1.5 million residents have fled Illinois since the start of the new millennium, and Wirepoints website places the bulk of the blame squarely on the state’s “lethal combination of rising property taxes and stagnant incomes.”
Data show no part of the state has escaped the ongoing mass exodus, with residents from the affluent North Shore just as likely to walk away as any of those in Chicago's struggling southern suburbs.
With homeowners saddled with the highest property taxes in the country—2.7 percent—not much is expected to change anytime soon. Incomes in Illinois have stalled to the point of flatlining, particularly when adjusted to account for still rising inflation.
By Wirepoint’s estimations, median household incomes across the state rose by just 34 percent between the start of 2000 through 2017. By comparison, the Illinois Department of Revenue reports property taxes skyrocketed by 105 percent over that same timeframe. On average, for example, residents of Lake and Cook counties saw more than 8 percent of their household income go toward property taxes in 2017.
While newly minted Gov. J.B. Pritzker has talked about doing something to address the issue, such as more closely balancing the load between property and income taxes, critics warn not just any plan will do.
“That would do Illinoisans no good,” Wirepoints states. “Illinoisans already pay the nation’s sixth-highest rates when you lump all state and local taxes together. Shifting them around won’t help when the total tax bill is too high to begin with. What Illinoisans need is a tax cut, not a tax shift. But not the type of ‘cut’ that allows politicians to continue spending, borrowing and piling up unpaid bills in some other way.”