Senator Jim Oberweis has introduced ethics legislation that would make it illegal for elected representatives or senators to be involved with litigating property tax appeals.
Senate Bill 2495 states that no legislator may accept or participate in any way in any representation case before the State of Illinois or any unit of local government in the State on any matter filed on or after February 1, 2018, that involves a challenge to any tax or proposed assessment of any tax or fee.
“Illinois has a corrupt situation where some of our representatives like Mike Madigan have been making a great deal of money from the property tax appeals system. The game is they assess property values high, then they come in and appeal it. It’s reduced for that year and then they take a piece of that reduction as their profit for the action,” Senator Oberweis said. “Then a year or two later, that levy goes back up again and they have to appeal it again, and lawyers collect again. And this goes on and on and on, particularly with commercial real estate.”
Governor Bruce Rauner referred to Senator Oberweis’ legislation in his State of the State address January 31.
“No one in Illinois is happy with our property tax assessment system. Ordinary people — the ones without clout or connections or money to pay high-powered lawyers — are victims of a system rigged against them. For too long, big businesses and the well-to-do have gotten huge tax breaks while little guys and little businesses take it in the pocketbook,” Governor Rauner said. “Two weeks ago, we issued an executive order that prevents legislators from practicing before the state property tax appeal board. And today Senator Oberweis and Representative Wehrli have introduced legislation that asks you to apply this same reform to every legislator who might practice before an assessment appeal board anywhere in the state.”
Senator Oberweis said he will continue his efforts to lower the property tax burden of Illinois citizens.
“We have to bring property taxes under control. They are forcing people to leave our state. Some people in the residential sector are being driven out of their homes because they can’t afford the property taxes any more. That has to change if we want to save the State of Illinois,” Senator Oberweis said.