Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Middle class needs a champion

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By Ray Hanania

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Last week, I wrote about how Fritz Kaegi artificially increased assessments on properties across Cook County in order to protect business property owners who are big donors with political clout.

Kaegi knows voters have no lobbyists and are easily forgotten in Cook County and in the state by people like Illinois Gov. JB “Daddy Warbucks” Pritzker.

The middle class — especially if you are white — are ignored by Chicago officials, who blame them for the violence sweeping through the city, excusing the criminals who get all the attention, benefits and even government funding to address their “needs” and blame law-abiding citizens.

No attention is on middle class and struggling renters and homeowners and even less on seniors, who are easily appeased by trinkets of empty rhetoric and promises.

Politicians today intentionally focus on the great political divide between the “We Hate Trump” movement and the “Pretend Joe Biden Can Think” movement. It’s about them, not you.

RayHanania

Ray Hanania

But readers overwhelmed me with letters on Kaegi’s oppressive assessment hikes, which add to the pressures and reduce their incomes in the face of rampant inflation. This pushes interest rates up and worsens the economic environment.

Here are a few (with names left out as promised):

“I am renting in Tinley Park, have probably one of the worst landlords in the world whereby I have had to contact local village to get him to fix things in building (everything from roaches to facility plumbing issues). Then, he acted when the village contacted him.

“I am a single 76 senior w/a disability, and now, I got a renewal notice whereby he will increase my rent $240/mo; threatening that if I don’t sign by 11/1 he will increase rent $440/mo. This is a 25% increase in my rent. He blames it on property taxes and suggests that I contact my local rep about the high taxes and not to re-elect them. I have his letter to prove this. Well, that doesn’t help me! I need help w/this situation. Why don’t we have rent control? I don’t know where to go w/this; I can’t afford to move nor can I afford this increase w/the cost of everything from food, insurance, etc.

“I will be thrown into court or forced eviction w/no where to go. I have contacted my local IL house and senator; but don’t hold your breath on them getting back to me. I have lived in this building for 11+ years and he is my 3rd landlord and owns many other buildings down here.”

–Reader, Tinley Park

Don’t expect any support from Tinley Park Mayor Michael Glotz, who is more concerned with playing his games of ugly politics and name-calling than rolling up his sleeves and being a good mayor like a predecessor, Ed Zabrocki. Glotz can text stupid things to people but won’t help his own residents?

“Hello my taxes rose over 100% so I went from just under $12,000.00 a year in taxes to $24,000.00 per year so this will force me to sell and I will leave Illinois for Indiana. Makes no sense to work extra hard just to give this money to a county that is literally forcing us out … I don’t think anything can be done to fix this; it’s Cook County, well Crook County, and the only way to get away from their control is to take steps to move out.”

–Reader, Crook County

“Per your request, my property assessment increased from 25,371 in 2022 to 35,001 in 2023. This is an increase of 38%. I have appealed this twice and provided assessed values lower than mine, but the appeals have been denied.”

–Reader, Orland Park

Empowering Kaegi are failed leaders like Glotz and Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, who are more concerned about fanning flames of political extremism than being good public servants. This isn’t about Democrats and Republicans, but about failed leadership. Do you ever hear either talk about rising assessments?

One reader advised that property owners can “apply to the State Property Tax Appeal Board, thanks to the bill Maureen Murphy sponsored.”

Murphy was a real Republican who was effective, not like the losers in Cook County today. She tried to reform the Cook County Board of Review, but her efforts were blocked. The Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board can be reached at PTAB.Illinois.gov.

But the real answer to Kaegi’s arbitrary political action to help his business pals is to push the state to take some action.

Don’t hold your breath.

The middle class needs a leader who will fight for their rights. Where is that person?

(Ray Hanania is a former Chicago City Hall reporter and award-winning columnist. Visit hanania.com for more opinion.)

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