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Silverstein works for four-year property tax freeze

silverstein 030117SPRINGFIELD- To provide relief to working families in Illinois, Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) plans to reform property taxes in Cook County and the contiguous collar counties of Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will.

Silverstein’s plan calls for a four-year freeze of property taxes. In addition to saving money for taxpayers, his goal is to provide the legislature the time and incentive to institute a graduated income tax system and bring the entire taxation system into greater balance. The Senator will submit legislation this week to launch the plan.

“We have a regressive tax system, and skyrocketing property tax rates are surely playing a role in some of the flight of working families from Illinois,” Silverstein said. “I believe this plan would pause the process long enough for lawmakers to analyze and make changes to our state income tax rate for a more fair overall tax picture.

“Balancing the system with income tax reform could eliminate the need for property tax increases going forward. Taxpayers need a break, and our state’s highly regressive system causes burdens, usually on middle class and lower income families.”

Other facets of Silverstein’s property tax reform plan include giving the same exemptions senior citizens receive to individuals on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and to retired first responders who are eligible for property tax exemptions.

Recipients of SSI typically have limited income, and home ownership is threatened by rising property taxes. Adding those on SSI who are disabled would be a compassionate practice to match what is provided to those over 65.

First responders may retire earlier than age 65 due to the stress and physical demands of the job. These individuals who put their lives on the line as firefighters, police officers or EMTs have better odds of staying in their homes in the community if the state provides this tax relief and stability.

“We must get started on big steps to reform our taxation system and I believe this plan moves us in the right direction,” Silverstein said. “As a cosponsor of the joint resolution to amend the Constitution to allow a graduated income tax (SJRCA 1), I know we need a plan with several components to change our overall system to make it fairer while providing revenue for the services Illinoisans expect. I think the steps in this plan open the door to major change.”

The property tax freeze would not apply to school districts that meet financial hardship provisions. Those districts could suffer greater harm when they are already in financial distress.

The four-year freeze would provide the Legislature with time to implement a graduated income tax that would generate sufficient revenue to make up for the lost revenue from property taxes.

Silverstein will file legislation outlining his plan this week; he then anticipates it being assigned to the Senate Revenue Committee for its review.

Senator Ira I. Silverstein

Majority Caucus Chair Ira I. Silverstein

8th District

Years served:
1999 - Present

Committee assignments: Executive (Vice Chairperson); Executive Appointments; Financial Institutions; Gaming; Judiciary; Revenue.

Biography: Attorney; Degrees from Loyola University in 1982 and John Marshall Law School in 1985; past President of the Northtown Community Council; board member of the Korean Senior Center; member of the Greek Pan-Hellenic Laconian organization; Director of the Bernard Horwich JCC; married (wife, Debra), has four children.