—John Byrne, 5/25/10
But the big daddy of tall tales in his editorial is this one: “Even with the increase in Chicago property taxes in this year’s budget, city property taxes have risen a average of only 1.5 percent a year since I’ve been mayor.”
Yes, Mayor Daley pledged to hold the line on property taxes—he’s been saying that for the last several months. But this year’s tax bill is paying for last year’s budget, which raised property taxes by about $83 million, so your benefit from his recent pledge will come next year, if it comes at all. And it probably won’t, because the mayor’s not really freezing taxes as long as he keeps creating new tax increment financing districts—and, with the City Council’s consent, he’s averaging a new one each month.
It’s easy to see why they might. For the last two years, Mayor Daley has been telling them that the city isn’t raising property taxes. Or as he put it in this year’s budget speech: “With so many people struggling, this isn’t the time to ask them to pay more.”
So why do our tax bills keep going up?
Oh yeah, I know—you’ve heard it all before and who you elect doesn’t seem to make a damn bit of difference. Property taxes keep going up even though officials from Mayor Daley to county board president Todd Stroger to house speaker Michael Madigan say they’re doing what they can to keep them down.