News Local/State

Lawmakers Consider More Property Tax Breaks For Seniors

Front of a house.

A pair of state lawmakers want to give seniors a break on their property taxes. Flickr/Bill_Comstock/

As Democrats and Republicans try to make local property taxes into an election-year political issue — state lawmakers are looking to cut tax rates for senior citizens.

Democratic state Senator Laura Murphy of Des Plaines said the cost of owning a home in her suburban district is getting too pricey for older people.

“It’s a very common concern of seniors anxious about how they’re gonna remain in their homes,” she said.

She wants more seniors to be able to claim a homestead exemption on their property taxes — raising the maximum annual income for that from $65,000 to $75,000. Another proposal would allow seniors in downstate communities to cut their home’s tax value by $7,000 up from $5,000.

But Carol Portman, president of the Taxpayer’s Federation of Illinois, calls that problematic.

“By reducing the taxes of those folks a little bit, then you’re raising it for the next door neighbors and the people across the street.” 

Portman said every property tax reduction for one homeowner means another will have to pay that much more.

“Where you draw the line of who gets the benefit and who has to pay the taxes for them, it gets really tough to draw.”

Property taxes have become a top political issue in the 20-18 elections, from the race for governor on down the ballot.