According to a recent story published by local news outlet, WBEZ Chicago, a recent proposal by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn designed to give Illinois homeowners a tax break will not affect the State’s renters.
Presented during Quinn’s annual budget speech late last month, the proposal would give property owners a $500 tax refund in exchange for keeping the personal income tax rate at 5%, instead of allowing the originally planned reduction to 3.75%. According to Quinn, the proposal would offer a substantial benefit to 92% of Illinois residents that own homes. Tenant advocacy groups and budget watchdogs alike have risen up against the proposal, however, as it fails to offer any benefit to the State’s significant population of renters.
According to Laurence Msall, head of Chicago’s Civic Federation,“Renters are not going to share in any of the givebacks in terms of the property tax rebate.” Msall is one of many who noticed that Quinn’s proposed tax credit would not apply to renters, constituting almost a third of Illinois and over half of Chicago households, despite the fact that tenants contribute indirectly to property taxes through payment of their rent.
Quinn has argued that the proposal is part of a bigger initiative to give homeowners assistance in dealing with the State’s unfair property tax system that disproportionately benefits high-income areas. John Bartlett of the Chicago Metropolitan Tenants Organization responded to Quinn’s claim, arguing that renters are usually the lowest-income population in Illinois, but won’t be getting a tax break even though they probably need it the most.
Quinn has contended that Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax break for individuals earning under $14,340 a year, can benefit renters. “There are many, many renters who would benefit from that particular tax relief measure. We’re gonna double the value of the Earned Income Tax Credit which helps so many renting families raising children,” commented Quinn. According to WBEZ article, however, only approximately 25% the State’s renters qualify for the EITC, leaving the rest to pay the higher income tax rate without getting the Quinn’s tax refund.
As this blog has discussed before, Quinn has previously taken steps to protect Illinois’ rental population. In August, Quinn approved an amendment to the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Act requiring acquirers of foreclosed residential property to honor existing leases or provide tenants sufficient time to move. In October, Quinn took steps to address the rising costs for renters, declaring that more than 1,470 affordable apartment would be created or preserved across the state.
As this blog has mentioned, both the Illinois and Chicago laws governing landlord-tenant relationships can be very complex and, difficult to navigate without knowledgeable legal counsel. Accordingly, it is almost always in the best interest of a tenant that has become embroiled in a dispute with his or her landlord to consult with an experienced Chicago tenants’ rights attorney.
If you have questions regarding the rights and obligations you have as a tenant or believe you have been the victim of the unfair practices of a landlord, contact the experienced real estate attorneys at The Slater Firm, Ltd. today.