Lukewarm Ideas On Property Tax Freeze

Nov 10, 2014

Bruce Rauner, in his first appearance since being elected, held to his pledge to freeze property taxes, but he says he'll form a task force to figure out how.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

When he was a candidate, Bruce Rauner promised that if elected, he would freeze property taxes. Now that he's won the race for governor, he's holding off on details about how.

It was a campaign promise that struck a chord.

"I've talked, as I've traveled in the campaign, to families that had to sell their homes and move because they can't afford their property taxes," he said. "Today in Illinois we have basically -- Illinois and New Jersey -- basically have the highest property taxes in America. And it's punishing, it's hurting Illinois families terribly." It's also a pledge that could be hard to keep. Property taxes are charged by, and go to, local governments, not the state. Property taxes are also schools' main funding source.

Now that he's Gov.-elect, Rauner says getting a handle on property taxes is still a goal.

But he remained unwilling to give details on how; a reporter suggested a freeze on assessments, or the state steeping in with a multiplier that would lower bills. Rauner says those are options, but there are a couple more. "I'm not going to advocate for one in particular," he said. "There are several good ways to deal with it. And we can use some other states that have dealt with it effectively as role models for us."

Rauner says he wants to work with local leaders, and that he'll convene a bipartisan task force to study the issue. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who on Wednesday conceded to Rauner, had campaigned on a state income tax hike paired with a 500 dollar property tax rebate for homeowners.