Tom Stilp, JD, MBA/MM, LLM, MSC
A recent Chicago Tribune editorial about the Cook County Tax Assessor is entitled, “Businesses are steamed at Kaegi. Their anger would be better directed elsewhere.” (Chi. Trib. Sec. 1, p. 10, 11-15-2021) The editorial opens with two examples, the first of a restaurant in Pilsen that has seen its property tax bill rise 300%, and second, a machine shop on the west side that has received a 480% increase in property taxes.
The editorial praises Kaegi, stating that years of political corruption have necessitated harsh changes to businesses. “A fair, honest, and accurate system of property assessment” is what Kaegi is achieving, according to the editorial.
Based on our clients’ experience, the Tribune is incorrect.
The two examples used to open the editorial are not the “fat cats,” politically connected millionaires that the editorial criticizes. Instead, these are small Ma and Pop businesses that are getting large tax increases.
A client in Cook County with a manufacturing building experienced a 400% increase. The 400% increase was based on Kaegi’s assessment that the property was worth approximately $4 million. In reality, the building sold for $2.7 million the same year in the open market. Kaegi’s assessment was neither fair nor accurate.
Property taxes are one of the primary motivations for many of our clients selling property and businesses moving out of Cook County.
Facts are facts. The consequences mean that businesses will make decisions to move operations and work elsewhere.
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