I despise the level of taxation in this town as much as the next person, but I have a different view on the matter than most. Real estate taxes are imposed on the value of property, so the relevant point of comparison is not “how much did my taxes go up” or “how much did my taxes increase as compared to inflation,” but “are my taxes, over time, going up more than the value of my property?” If your property value triples, you should expect your taxes to triple. The general rate of inflation has little to do with changes in your property’s value.
The rule of thumb for Cook County properties going back to the 1970s was that your taxes were going to be around 2.5% of your property’s value.
My impression is that, nowadays, it’s more like 3%. We also demand that our local governments do more than they did 50 years ago. You want more services, you have to pay for them.
If government inefficiency were the problem, it would have been solved long ago — or at least it should have been. There’s no excuse for wasting taxpayer dollars no matter what the level of taxation.
You want lower taxes, you have to vote down every tax referendum — even if you believe it should be passed — until your elected officials get the message. You also have to elect officials who promise to cut services and have the backbone to stand up to choruses of abuse and actually do it.
Bob Stigger, Oak Park