- Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 02:38 PM
There’s been a lot of attention recently about legislation that I sponsored with State Rep. Christian Mitchell in 2014.
Some have interpreted that law as reducing the amount of time taxpayers had to settle any outstanding debt before tax buyers could purchase the debt. Quite the opposite is true.
First and foremost, the legislation in question extended the amount of time taxpayers have to pay the amount owed before the sale of their tax debt.
Let me share the background about what that measure did and why.
Because of the financial hardships so many people faced after the recession in 2008, the Illinois Legislature temporarily lengthened the amount of time taxpayers had to pay their property tax bills by an additional 12 months. This grace period was set to expire in 2013, after which the payment period was to return to its original length.
The legislation Rep. Mitchell and I sponsored in 2014 lengthened the grace period by three years, meaning that until this spring taxpayers had more time to settle any outstanding debt before tax sales could begin.
What we’re seeing now is the result of a failure to extend the grace period again, which directly affects some Cook County residents.
While I am disappointed there are misconceptions about what this legislation actually did, I am glad we are having a discussion about how programs like these take money from poor and middle-class neighbors and provide what often are excessive margins for the wealthy. It is unconscionable, and we should not only look to make permanent the extension, but also look to curb the high interest rates these families often face as a result of their delayed payments.
In fact, legislation to address the extension already has passed the House (HB155), and I am eager to ensure that it adequately addresses these concerns.