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County Board urges state to repeal senior property tax change

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

State legislators should repeal a new law requiring Cook County senior citizens to prove each year that they are eligible for a special property tax break, commissioners said today.

The County Board unanimously passed a resolution urging the General Assembly to reverse that requirement, joining Mayor Richard Daley and the City Council, which approved a similar measure last week. All expressed concern about more than150,000 senior-led households that get breaks ranging from $157 to $823. The tax break currently rolls over from year to year but now will have to be renewed annually.


Approval of the resolution came after a heated political debate about why legislators had imposed the requirement only on Cook County.

“What is it about Cook County that we are unable to run our own affairs, that Springfield has to tell us how to ensure that our senior citizens have tax protection?” asked Commissioner Forrest Claypool, D-Chicago, who is running for county assessor as an independent.

Both Claypool and Board of (Tax) Review Joseph Berrios, the Democratic nominee for assessor, agree the measure should be overturned before it goes into effect next year.

“I think we all agree here . . .  that the ultimate goal here is that seniors, and only seniors, get this exemption no matter how we go about doing this,” responded Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, who discussed the measure with the board. He added that he was “open to further discussions.”


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