17th District, Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison proposes financial remedy for local governments who face revenue shortfall from delayed second installment of property taxes
April 1, 2022 - A very real financial crisis could soon hit every government taxing body in Cook County. That’s because the Cook County Assessor’s Office could delay the second installment of the Cook County Real Estate Taxes up to six months and possibly into the first quarter of 2023. This delay in over $16 billion dollars in second half bills will force local government bodies to either draw down their reserves or borrow money with interest. This will have a massive financial impact on our municipalities, school districts, fire protection districts, police departments, park districts, public libraries, and everything in between.
Over seven months ago during county budget hearings, I raised the alarm of the likelihood of late tax installments and the effect they will have regarding the delay in the process of property tax certifications – due to the dramatically diminished amount of files being processed at that time. Aside from communications from Board of Review Commissioner Tammy Wendt’s office, my questions and communications were largely ignored from the various stakeholders.
I was advised via letter, the issue is being addressed by a policy group under the Office of the President along with members of the Assessor’s office, Board of Review, County Clerk and Treasurer’s Office . I received no other actionable response on this item!
I, along with the public, have now learned via “the news media” that tax bills will be delayed up to six months or more. If these news reports are accurate, this will lead to local government taxing bodies across Cook County being forced to borrow funds to cover their pre-budgeted operating costs.
If this financial catastrophe occurs and Cook County is faced with a substantial delay in the release of tax revenues to local government bodies, then Cook County government should consider stepping in to address this issue.
Until such point in time as those stakeholders whose primary function is to provide for the ontime delivery of our property tax bill correct this problem, I have one immediate solution. Cook County
government should consider setting aside up to $100 million dollars to provide for no/low interest short-term financing loans to our local taxing bodies.
I re-issue my call to convene a special finance committee meeting to address the looming financial crisis facing our local taxing bodies in Cook County.