I posted several days ago about how the regressive property tax system, while multi-layered and complicated for the ordinary Chicago homeowner or renter to understand – purposefully so – is having the immediate effect of driving gentrification in neighborhoods like Humboldt Park and Logan Square on the city’s north west side.
Today, Chicago’s wonderful source for local news, Block Club Chicago, has a story by Mina Bloom about Sylvia Gonzalez who lives on Lawndale in Logan Square.
Mrs. Gonzalez and her family’s story is in someways different from mine. Block Club reporter Bloom:
Gonzalez, 54, remembers the day their home loan was approved. It was also the day after their second son was born.
“A baby and an approval of a loan. … So we walked in here — first week of August 1990 — and for me it was like, ‘Wow, we did it.’ I’m an immigrant; I’m from Mexico. My husband is as well. I was 25 years old. … So, for us, this was big,” Gonzalez said.
The Gonzalezes have lived in the house, situated on Lawndale Avenue just south of Diversey Avenue, for nearly 30 years.
I’m older than Mrs. Gonzalez and we were renters for most of our lives. We didn’t buy a house, the same house we live in now, until we were in our 40s.
But we bought our home a year after Mrs. Gonazalez and her husband bought theirs. It was for about the same price. Its current market value as determined by the County Assessor is almost identical t hers as is the increase in our tax bill.
They are giving serious thought to leaving Logan Square because of their tax bill. They are not alone.
The average 24% increase in Logan Square taxes from 2017 to 2018 assessments are forcing many long-time residents to flee.
In today’s Crain’s, it is reported that the city will receive a $181 million dollar TIF “windfall.”
It won’t be a windfall for Mrs. Gonzalez or for the rest of us.
TIFs cover one out of four properties in Chicago and their taxes are frozen. TIFs raise tax rates for all other taxpayers from ten to 15 percent according to Andrew Schneider, Logan Square resident and President of Logan Square Preservation.
(Update: In their report, County Clerk Karen Yarbrough’s office said that 35% of property taxes were captured by TIFs.)
I still offer the idea of capping the property taxes of long-term homeowners in gentrification-threatened neighborhoods like ours.
Add a surtax to million dollar homes and million dollar sales.