CHICAGO — A group of Southwest Side residents caravanned to the Cook County Courthouse Friday to protest the steep increases in property tax bills.
Taxpayers hope the city’s Assessor’s Office changes what they owe on the final day that payments are due without late fees.
“My property taxes were raised 63.5%, but there are other residents whose property taxes were raised 67%. Who in their right mind thinks that’s OK?” said Pilsen resident Brigida Franco.
Cook County tax bills arrived late this year, shocking many homeowners and business owners. Several communities, including Pilsen, were asked to pay significantly more than last year.
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“Our community in the Lower West Side, in the Pilsen community, have seen property tax increase of 46%, in many cases, we’ve seen taxes doubling or tripling.” Said Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward).
With the late rollout, residents and commercial property owners said there was little time to appeal their bills.
Laura Paz spoke about the issue.
“We will not accept this incredible injustice,” she said. “It is completely ridiculous, unfair, illegal and criminal.”
Business owner Juan Giron spoke with WGN News and said he may be forced to close its doors because of what he owes.
“I own a Spanish language bookstore where my commercial real estate taxes went from $26,000 to $85,000 and have to be paid by [Friday],” Giron said.
Lopez is asking that late fees be put on hold for those who cannot pay the full amount by Friday’s due date.
“What we are presenting is a proposal to put a moratorium on late fees and fines because we cannot pay the property taxes they are putting in front of us,” he said.
The Assessor’s Office released a statement:
Under assessments from Assessor Fritz Kaegi, property taxes for most Chicago residents would have gone down in this current tax year. But our office is not the last step in the property tax process. The Board of Review reduced the value of many large commercial properties downtown based on appeals to their office, which pushed more of the tax burden onto residents, including those in Pilsen and Little Village.
Assessor Kaegi is examining the reductions made by the Board of Review to determine what changes should be made for 2022 so residents of Pilsen, Little Village, and the City of Chicago are not bearing more of the burden of property taxes than they should.