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South Suburban Cook in Death Spiral from High Taxes

Chicago Daily Observer 30 November 2015 No Comment

From WirePoints

You may notice that the highest rates for Cook County are in its south suburbs. That area is clearly in a death spiral, which was the focus of our article last week. Finally, Cook County generally taxes commercial property at 2.5 X the effective residential rate, which is why those rates are separately listed above for Cook County. (The exorbitance of those commercial rates is a separate story.) For the collar counties, however, commercial rates are the same as residential.)

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Perhaps most frightening of all, much larger property tax bills remain to be sent out. Most communities with high rates are working class ones with the worst unfunded pension liabilities. Aurora, for example, with rates well over 4%, has police and fire pensions with unfunded liabilities totaling  an absurd $262 million. Elgin, also with rates over 4%, is $175 million behind on pensions. (Elgin’s police, by the way, have an average salary of $95,000/year on top of which the city pays over $60,000/year in pension contributions. That’s not uncommon and we are linking to similar stories about Illinois municipalities.) The list of impossible municipal pension obligations goes on and on. You can see all their numbers in the state’s latest biennial report.

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