Chambana Sun

Chambana Sun

Monday, October 14, 2019

'Springfield can't get out of its own way,' laments Rep. Caulkins on Illinois' property tax crisis

Local Government

By Glenn Minnis | Jul 25, 2019


Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) fumes about the way the state legislature in Springfield has become the enemy in the eyes of people it is supposed to serve. 

“We’re not doing the communities any favors in with the way we just keep mandating that they do this and that,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “We continue to mandate all the things we expect the schools and communities to do but we don’t put our money where our mouth is. It’s always, ‘Do all these things, and by the way, you have to come up with the money to pay for it.’”   

To add to his frustration, a new Federal Housing Finance Agency report concludes that over the last decade, average home prices in Illinois have dropped 21 percent while property taxes have soared by almost half that much after adjusting for inflation. Illinois Policy Institute adds that all the taxation has come at a time when the state continues to recover from the last housing-market crash, with decreasing home values across the state at 300 percent worse than the national average.

“I had a friend tell me that by the time he gets his house paid for, he would have paid for it twice,” Caulkins said. “That’s what happens when you’re paying $6,000 a year in property taxes. We have a serious, serious problem.”

More and more, Illinois residents are deciding to deal with the issue moving away.

“Home values generally reflect supply and demand, and when you have families moving out in the exodus we have in this state, it’s going to depress home values,” Caulkins said. “It’s a vicious circle, as home values go down, taxing bodies have to raise their levies.”

Illinois' total population has gone down in each of the last five years, and the trend shows no signs of slowing.  

“On top of that, we keep running businesses out of Illinois as well,” Caulkins said. “Over 1,200 small businesses disappeared this month when local gun owners decided not to pay the state 10 to 16 times what they pay the federal government for their licenses. That’s sales tax, income tax, property taxes all gone because Springfield can’t get out of its own way.”

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Illinois Policy Institute Illinois State Representative Dan Caulkins

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