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Solving suburbs’ vicious property tax cycle benefits all

…This is why the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s ON TO 2050 comprehensive regional plan calls on the state to re-examine its criteria for disbursing revenue to communities. Criteria should take into account things like infrastructure condition and the cost of service delivery, not just population and retail sales.

This can be done equitably, through a deliberative process in partnership with municipalities of all types to avoid inadvertent impacts. Reforming the criteria would help municipalities stuck in a cycle of disinvestment meet their service needs and reduce high local property tax rates, kickstarting a virtuous cycle of population growth and business investment.

Cook County also has a role to play. The county’s property tax classification system forces businesses to shoulder a higher share of the tax burden: Businesses are taxed on 25 percent of market value, while residences are taxed at 10 percent. This policy, which does not exist in any other county or adjacent state, dampens the business climate and hinders growth in the property tax base. In the long run—which is happening now—residents suffer even more. Please click here to read Erin Aleman’s guest column in Crain’s Chicago Business.

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