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Cook Co. property taxes arrive in July, and south suburbs will see steep increases

Cook Co. Treasurer Maria Pappas discusses historic property tax hike
Cook Co. Treasurer Maria Pappas discusses historic property tax hike 05:53

CHICAGO (CBS) — The second installment of Cook County property taxes is about to go out, and south and southwest suburban homeowners will have to pay a lot more.

Property taxes in the south suburbs are up by 19.9% on average—a new record. Taxes increased in 15 suburbs—13 of which have predominantly Black populations, according to the Cook County Treasurer's office.

In two towns, Dixmoor and Phoenix, tax bills have more than doubled.

The underlying issue is that businesses and residents are leaving those south suburbs and depleting the property tax base, explained Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

"This is like a scale. Clever grocers and people weigh everything. What happens when the scale is put to test? This commercial building is going to pay less taxes because nobody is in it," Pappas said. "So who's left? There are five people on this block, and another five have left. The five people who are left—in Phoenix, for example—are picking up the five people who left Illinois and the commercial building that went down."

Those five homeowners, Pappas said, are already likely dealing with rising grocery prices, utility bills, and other expenses—and now they are stuck picking up the slack for property taxes because everyone else left.

An analysis of 2023 Cook County property tax bills found that overall, property taxes in Cook County rose about $706 million last year—with homeowners shouldering $611 million, or nearly 86%, of that increase.

Other areas saw more modest increase than the south suburbs. The city of Chicago saw an increase in taxes of a modest 2.6%--a hike that happened in large part because of an increase in the Chicago Public Schools tax levy, and bill increases in tax increment financing districts, Pappas' office said.

The north and northwest suburbs saw an increase of 4%.

Pappas said this year's tax bills include a new feature called, "Where Your Money Goes," which breaks down the amounts of money billed by each taxing body, and whether a property owner's payments went up or down.

Pappas also noted that the public can go to meetings where tax hike proposals are discussed.

"Each of these governments—every year, once a year, has a meeting about whether or not they're going to increase. You know what? Nobody goes to the meeting. It's like the last election—20% of the people voted," Pappas said. "So if 20% of the people don't care enough to come out and do something about the fact that these bills are going up, it will just be 30 more  years—because the bills have gone up for 30 years."

Residents can start viewing their property tax bills online on Monday, July 2. They are also being sent out next week.

The second installment for tax year 2023 is due Aug. 1.

This marks the first time in two years that Cook County officials have mailed both installments for a property tax year on time.n time.

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