Tax Rates Not Really Linked to Home Values

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Tax Rates Not Really Linked to Home Values
Southwest News-Herald Friday, June 28, 2013

Let’s get one thing straight. State and County government a long time ago realized they had to create a system to calculate taxes that would take the burden of responsibility off their backs and put them someplace else.

That someplace else is the convoluted, complicated tax system where your property’s value is “assessed” by the Cook County Assessor, equalized by the State of Illinois, adjusted by county government “exemptions” and “increases,” and then multiplied by the state tax rate.

If you ever wanted to watch Bud Abbott and Lou Costello convert their famous “Who’s on First” routine into a “Who’s Raising Taxes” routine, you might get the point.

In reality, that complicated system doesn’t determine your property taxes. It’s there to confuse the hell out of everyone so that your eye is off the ball.

The person who sets Cook County Taxes is Cook County Clerk David Orr, the phony “reformer” who has been using his “government” office as a base to support his do-gooder pals who rarely do good, like Congressman Luis “Where’s Mine” Gutierrez and Ald. Ricky “Always in a Scandal” Munoz.

Orr starts the whole downward slide into oppressive property tax confusion by collecting data from local governments. Your property taxes, folks, are not based on the state’s stupid “Who’s on First” formula, but rather on the spending of government.

What your governments spend determines your property tax.

For the first time in years, you are going to get hammered with property tax bills “on time,” which means earlier than normal. You probably already noticed that your bank increased the estimated mortgage collections each month, if you have a mortgage. That’s because the county has been notoriously late — hammering you with property tax bills after the elections.

Yes, the county artificially manipulates the process to minimize the property tax pain on themselves, not you.

Carefully look at your property tax hodgepodge of confusion. The bill breaks down what each government spends in real dollars. Compare it to past bills.

If your property tax is going up, it’s because your local governments are spending more and more, and giving you less and less, in many cases.

The worst offender is the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which has less to do with “reclamation.” The Deep Tunnel Project has stumbled to a halt. It’s not doing what it promised. The tunnel is always already filled with water long before the bad rains even hit. All you have to do is look outside during any rain to see that.

Next is David Orr, the Cook County Clerk whose office spending continues to be unjustified. He uses his office to manipulate vote results to favor his pals. He wants to make it “easy” to vote but in reality all the loosening of the vote rules does is make it easier for people to steal votes. Many taxpayers just don’t want to vote.

There’s nothing wrong with increased government spending if you can identify where it is going. Is it doing something? Do you have a new stadium that might bring in revenue in a good economy? The poor economy has made our problems look even worse. Do you have more police officers on the streets? Or is your government giving away tax dollars as incentives to private developers building fancy condominiums like those in Orland Park?

Read your bills folks.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and former Chicago City Hall reporter. You may reach him at and follow him on Twitter at

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania