Chicago Homeowners “Poorly Served” When Mayor Shut Down Taxpayer Assistance Office in 2011
Ben Franklin said death and taxes are inevitable, but he never said it’s inevitable to be taxed to death.
CHICAGO – On Monday’s deadline for Chicago homeowners to pay the second installment of their dramatically higher property tax bills, Pat Quinn called for a voter referendum to establish an elected Consumer Advocate to help beleaguered taxpayers appeal their tax bills.
For years, the city maintained a Chicago Taxpayer Assistance office which offered free, on-the-spot counseling to help thousands of homeowners navigate through the confusing property tax system and win millions of dollars in assessment relief.
The Taxpayer Assistance office was abruptly shuttered in 2011.
In 2016, City Hall is levying a record-breaking $588 million property tax hike on taxpayers.
An elected Consumer Advocate would restore taxpayer assistance counseling and help city homeowners win relief from unfair assessments.
The elected Consumer Advocate for taxpayers is one of the two Take Charge Chicago binding referendums. The second referendum would put a term limit on the office of Mayor. Chicago is the only city among the nation’s ten largest without mayoral term limits.
New York has a Public Advocate who is elected citywide to help taxpayers and consumers take on unresponsive government bureaucracies and unfair corporate practices.
The Consumer Advocate would replace the appointed Commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and earn the same pay as Chicago’s City Clerk ($133,545), much less than the current BACP chief ($157,092).
Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn also served as Commissioner of the Cook County Board of (Tax) Appeals (1982-86), the nation’s largest property tax appeal agency.
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