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Property taxes expected to be top priority during spring session

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Depending on the source, Illinois consistently ranks as having the highest or second-highest property tax rate in the nation.

"What that means is that you may be able to afford the house, but when you look at the tax bill that may make you reconsider and say do I really want to buy that house? Do I want something that's a little less expensive?" Illinois Realtors spokesman Jon Broadbooks said.

Property taxes can have a huge impact when it comes to people deciding whether to move to or leave the state.

"In Illinois, people have a lot of choices as to where they can live,” Broadbooks said. “Particularly if they live in the Chicago area, they have two other states that they can consider."

As lawmakers return to Springfield, many say property taxes needs to be a high priority. Governor JB Pritzker and Senator Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, are two people calling for its attention this session.

“Lowering the property tax burden is a top priority for me and my colleagues in the Senate,” Senator Manar said in a statement. “This isn’t just a Chicago issue – high property taxes affect families in all regions of the state, including the rural downstate communities I represent. The bipartisan Property Tax Relief Task Force will issue a report in the coming days that will put forward a set of legislative and administrative recommendations that we should consider in the upcoming session.”

"This issue has been out there for a very, very long time but now it's especially driven by the pension debt that local governments have that has made the problem go from bad to absolutely worse,” Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said.

Maisch says he also believes addressing pension debt is part of the solution.

"Changing some of the payouts in a reasonable way to go ahead and make sure taxpayers are not unfairly burdened by some of these huge, crushing pension debts."

Others call for consolidation within the government.

"Try to figure out ways to allow for more consolidation of some of these local units of government. We have 7,000 of them,” Broadbooks said. “We're far outpacing any other state in the nation. We need to figure out a way to try to alleviate tax burden."

In a statement from the Governor's Office, they say the Governor has made strides in bringing down property taxes, like through pension consolidation and more state funding of schools.

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