Topinka Seeks Answers on Governor's Huge Tax Break
Topinka's budget plan pays for Property Tax Relief for Every Property Tax payer in Illinois - without raising taxes
TINLEY PARK, IL -- State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka asked Governor Rod Blagojevich to explain the governor's huge property tax break. In Rod Blagojevich's neighborhood, homeowners were socked with an average 36.7% property tax assessment increase, but one "lucky" homeowner received an increase of just 1% - Rod Blagojevich.
"First, the governor gets a curious $1,500 check to his seven-year-old daughter and now an equally curious property tax break," Topinka said. "Either he's the luckiest person in Illinois or there's another explanation."
"When I talk to voters in the supermarket or at the coffee shop, they tell me they're most upset about high property taxes. That's why my four-year budget plan will freeze property taxes for two years. I know homeowners need property tax relief - and I will deliver it."
Blagojevich's personal finances are under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office, according to the Chicago Tribune. He has yet to disclose his 2005 federal income tax release despite Topinka's release of her full tax forms for the past 12 years.
"The public deserves to know: Did the Governor or his representatives discuss the governor's property taxes with anyone in the assessor's office? There has to be an explanation -- Why are the Governor's neighbors being hit hard while the governor essentially gets a property tax freeze," she added.
According to various published reports, the governor's residence in the Ravenswood Manor subdivision in NW Chicago was given a 1 percent property assessment increase this year while residences on his block got a 37 percent increase. The increases also averaged 37 percent for Rod's immediate neighborhood of 156 homes.
The assessor's office claims it was allowing Rod's assessment to "catch up" because it was too high previously. However, during the last reassessment in 2003, Rod's property was raised about the same as his neighbors.
Published reports show that the median assessment increase in Chicago this year was 41 percent and those same published reports show other increases:
41 percent in Rogers Park
38 percent in Lake View
46 percent on the SW side
76 percent in part of West Beverly
90 percent in part of Englewood