Oak Park property owner says huge tax hike is making up for political mistakes
When Illinois public officials raise taxes to address budget shortfalls, property owners like Steve Kelly are hard hit.
Kelly owns a six-unit condominium in Oak Forest. In April, he received a notice from Cook County that his taxes on the property would be nearly doubling.
Kelly said he is frustrated with the lack of foresight and empathy from public officials.
“Those are people who don’t sign the bottom of a check but endorse the back side of one,” Kelly told the South Cook News. “They don’t understand you can’t just arbitrarily double somebody’s taxes like this.”
He said because politicians are not business people, they don’t understand how business and property management work.
Kelly pays more than $1,000 a month in taxes on the property, he said. If all the units are rented and he has no excessive expenses, he makes approximately $350 a month.
Once the tax hike goes into effect, Kelly calculates that he’ll owe about $650 a month. He argued that he can’t raise his tenants' rent to make up the difference and might not be able to keep the property.
“My rents in that building are market rents -- you know, fair market value,” Kelly said. “I’m going to have put money in every month and subsidize this. The property owners are the ones taking it on the chin here, and it will be years before I can catch up on this."
Kelly believes the taxes collected will be used to pay down Illinois’ underfunded pensions.
“They’ve got to figure out a way to raise revenue, but this is not a formula that works,” Kelly said. “It’s certainly not a fair way to raise money.”
Kelly has little faith the money will be used appropriately and said he is ready to move out of Illinois.