Tax leaders applaud Pappas’ debt report and recommendations


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Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas on Monday posted her most recent local government debt report, which this year features a unique way to measure those growing liabilities. The treasurer attributed debts to property, rather than per person, to more accurately reflect the burdens placed on those who will eventually pay the bills. Others praise the effort.

“It is an important report because it enables individual citizens to identify, with very little effort, all government agencies and the liabilities associated with their property as a result of those governments, both past property taxes and likely future taxes. . to pay the unfunded debts and other obligations,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation of Chicago. He hopes the data will spark renewed talks about consolidating government units and pension reform across the state.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas with elected officials and leaders of the Arab community during the celebration of Arab American Heritage at Oozi Restaurant on April 10, 2019. Photo Courtesy of Anthony Caciopo

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas with elected officials at a community event on April 10, 2019. Photo Courtesy of Anthony Caciopo

Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce:

“We commend Treasurer Pappas’ report, which provides transparency about the true cost of government to homeowners, commercial property owners and taxpayers. In a nutshell, these findings indicate that property owners essentially have a second mortgage from day one because of the old cost of pensions and other government debt. For the first time, your neighbor or small business owner can better understand how the government’s inability to solve our tax challenges directly impacts their bottom line and the growth of our economy. The Chamber continues to advocate for solutions, including pension reform and government consolidation.”

Farzin Panang, Executive Director of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago:

“While Chicagoland’s economy has significant strengths, our debt and property taxes are weaknesses that we must address if we want to grow our region,” Parang said, noting that research also indicates that commercial property owners have many pay higher taxes than homeowners in Cook County.

“This study shows how heavily corporations subsidize taxpayers in Cook County — and the urgent need for reform,” Panang said. “A fairer property tax system that promotes economic growth is key to alleviating the mounting burden faced by both commercial and residential taxpayers. Treasurer Pappas continues to raise the bar for transparency in our property tax system and we look forward to her next publication.”

“Most of the data really indicates that the debt burden is highest and most concentrated — at a dollar value per property value — for communities of color than for whiter, more affluent communities,” said Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Human Resources. Tax & Budget Accountability.

And treasurer Maria Pappas notes:

“Purchases of real estate in Cook County come with a hidden credit card balance, in the form of local government debt,” Pappas said. “Real estate owners eventually pay off that debt, in addition to covering their mortgage, utility and maintenance costs.”

All talked about Treasurer Pappas’ new debt study, a groundbreaking effort that allows property owners to determine how much local government debt is attached to their property.

The debt investigation can be found here.

Ray Hanania
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