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HomeIllinois NewsRauner calls for bill to ban Madigan from appealing property taxes

Rauner calls for bill to ban Madigan from appealing property taxes



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COUNTRY CLUB HILLS — During a public discussion about Illinois' exceptionally high property taxes, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner called for legislation that would ban state lawmakers from also acting as property-tax appeals lawyers – a direct attack on Rauner's arch political rival, House Speaker Mike Madigan. 

Madigan, who has been Speaker of the Illinois House for over 30 years, is co-founder and partner in a six-attorney law firm that specializes in property tax appeals. His company, Madigan & Getzendanner, represents some of the Chicago Loop's most prominent buildings in their appeals.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner listened at a south suburban roundtable Thursday as people talked of struggling to hold on to their homes and businesses while paying some of the highest property taxes in the nation, and he vowed systemic change, a press release from the governor's office says.

Lawmakers that gain income from the status quo have little incentive to tackle meaningful property-tax reform, Rauner said. He is calling for legislators to make it illegal for state lawmakers to also act as property-tax appeals lawyers, profiting from a property-tax assessment system that many have decried as fundamentally unfair.

Legislation will be introduced when the General Assembly returns later this month.

The bill has zero chance of moving through the Democrat-dominated General Assembly. Speaker Madigan not only rules the Illinois House with an "iron fist," observers say, he has been chairman of the Illinois Democrat Party since the early 1990s. No Democrat would dare to allow the measure to be heard even in committee, much less on the Illinois House floor.

Rauner promised he would issue an executive order, which would be effective immediately, directing members of the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board to prohibit state legislators from participating in appeals coming before them. 

“The system is rigged so that only those with clout have the resources to fight it,” Rauner said. “Property taxes are through the roof here. It’s unfair, it’s unjust. It’s forcing people to move, forcing small businesses to leave … We’ve got to change the system.”

Legislators already are restricted from professionally representing individuals before the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the Court of Claims. This proposal simply adds the Property Tax Appeals Board and local government bodies to the list.

People frequently cite property taxes as a top reason for leaving the state. Illinois’ population declined by an estimated 33,700 in 2017, dropping from the fifth-largest to the sixth-largest state.

Several business and homeowners that attended Thursday’s roundtable spoke of inequities and financial duress they have faced.

  • Glenwood homeowner Adam Winston said he bought his home 10 years ago for $170,000. Today, he said, it is worth $120,000, and his annual property tax bill totals $8,000.
  • Charles Higgins of Dolton pays $4,800 in property taxes on his home valued at $48,000, he said. Three homes on his block are abandoned; former neighbors have said they are walking away from their homes and mortgages because the property taxes have rendered them unaffordable.
  • Christine Wilson of Flossmoor bought her home in 2011 for $257,000. It is now worth $190,000, she said, according to a recent appraisal Wilson requested. The Cook County Assessor’s Office, however, says it is worth between $290,000 and $300,000, and her property taxes are $12,698.

“We have the third-highest property tax burden in the U.S., and more mortgages under water due to crushing taxes than in 48 other states,” Rauner said. “Illinois has too many terrific assets — a tremendous workforce, world-class educational institutions and an unparalleled transportation hub, to name a few — to allow high taxes to continue to drain our economy.

“It’s time to change this story,” Rauner said. “A big key to that is restoring public trust and taking politics out of the equation.”


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  1. You know Rauner and these silly Chamber of Commerce and National Restaurant Association bean counting, so-called Republicans really make me laugh. It would be hilarious, if they weren’t hurting people so badly.
    They invite more and more aliens into our communities, which wildly jack up the costs of our near-bankrupt schools – and tax our hospital emergency rooms – and say, “we really want to help you with your burgeoning property taxes (which pay for the schools and emergency rooms.)
    But in the meantime – they love the cheap restaurant workers, cheap hotel employees – and in the case of Diana and Bruce Rauner – the cheap landscapers and servants.
    Honestly – how far can we be from civil disobedience vis a vis our monied North Shore masters?

  2. Great proposal!!! The Madigan Mafia has been the Fox guarding the chicken coop for decades and has filled the bank accounts of these elites while the people have lost homes values throughout Illinois ALL BECAUSE OF MADIGAN’S CORRUPTION.
    Why now Rauner? Ives will be a much better governor.

  3. Nobody cares. Rauner passed Madigan’s agenda. Nobody is going to vote based on some stupid insider law that is going to ban a 75 year old guy from working. This guy is one of the worst candidates I have ever seen. He might not get 30% of the vote if he wins the primary.

  4. In any bankrupt state only its politicians get rich. It certainly would benefit citizens if Madigan gave up residency in Chicago and settled permanently in Menard or Pontiac.
    TERM LIMITS !!!!!!
    It has always been a curiosity as to the psychological profile and health of politicians who have to hold office for decade after decade. We easily think of Robert Byrd, Orrin Hatch, several mayors of Chicago area municipalities, Jerry Brown, and libido driven monstrosities like John Conyers, Bwarney Fwank and swimming instructor Teddy Kennedy.
    Other politicians are approaching superannuated careers…like Nancy Pelosi. Her recent comment about “a bowl of doggie doo” was pretty interesting. Every time I have ever thought about nitwit Nancy that is exactly what came to mind.
    Imagine an Ed McMahon introduction: “Hereee’s Nancy!”

  5. Too little much too late. His past decisions on abortion and illegal aliens make him personna non grata for most Republicans.
    If no one else comes in to split up the vote, Ives will beat him in the primary and Rauer is OUT!

  6. Rauner says taxes are too high, but attacks someone who appeals unfair assessments? Blatant political B.S. from someone who made a fortune from state pension funds.
    Ron Jaeger, you are fooling yourself if you think this will affect “the elites” or reduce property taxes for the rest of us. Rauner’s EO was an attack against Madigan, but it won’t change the ability of the oligarchy to get their tax cuts.
    Neither Rauner nor Ives can win statewide. Better look quick for another candidate.

  7. “Neither Rauner nor Ives can win statewide. Better look quick for another candidate.”
    You are probably right. Since 1980 there area million less Whites in Illinois and 1.4 million more Blacks, Asians, Hispanics whatever. An mportant component of this being illegal alines and now their children
    Whereas Illinois used to be a swing state that is no longer the case. The above stated demographics have changed that. Any Republican Governor in the future will be there only because of a total breakdown in the DEMS or another RINO that one could not tell the difference.
    That is the reality the the Republican elites have fostered this and now any Republican candidate will pay the price- as will the rest of us who do not want a socialist, 3rd world state/nation.

  8. The rich people who use Madigan to get their property taxes lowered do so because they know the people who have the job of making the decisions about the reassessments are beholden to one Michael J. Madigan for their job and if they don’t play ball with Madigan they will be in the unemployment line. Your facile comment ignores the fact that it is a clear conflict of interest for state legislators to act as an attorney on for the filthy rich’s property tax appeals.
    The Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board hears about 30,000 appeals a year, approximately three-fourths of them from Cook County.