Illinois 12th District - Official website of the State Representative Sara
1051 W Belmont, Chicago, IL
773 296 4141
NEW LAWS IN ILLINOIS
Property Tax Reform
The so-called 7% solution, which will bring property tax relief to countless
homeowners in our district, extends the 7% cap for another three years and
increases the exemption from $20,000 to $30,000.
There are also a number of new or amended exemptions (on top of the General
Homestead and Senior Homestead exemptions) in this legislation. They include the
The Disabled Homestead Exemption: Creates a
$2,000 exemption for disabled homeowners.
Returning Veteran Homestead Exemption: Provides
a one-time $5,000 exemption, available for the year they return from duty.
Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption: Gives a
$2,500 exemption for veterans who are 50% to 75% disabled and $5,000 for
individuals who are 75% to 100% disabled.
Senior Freeze - Removes the graduated exemption
between $45,000 and $50,000; the maximum income will be $55,000 beginning in
2008 and thereafter.
Circuit Breaker - Increases each income
threshold by $1,000-the last increase was in 2006.
Municipal abatement - A municipality or county
may abate some or all of its own taxes levied upon property owned by the
surviving spouse of a fallen police officer, firefighter or rescue worker.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act
This new law requires every house or apartment
to be equipped with at least one approved carbon
monoxide alarm within 15 feet of every bedroom.
It is the owner’s responsibility to supply and
install the alarms, but it is the tenant’s
responsibility to test and to provide general
maintenance and to notify the owner of any
Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft
In 2005 there were over 685,000 identity theft
complaints filed nationwide, 27,000 of which
came from Illinois. To help cut into that
number, this new legislation allows consumers to
place a security freeze on their credit reports.
I am proud to have co-sponsored this bill which
gives consumer a new layer of protection when it
comes to their identity and financial security
Minimum Wage Increase
During the 94th General Assembly, we
successfully passed a measure that effectively
raises the minimum wage in Illinois to $7.50 an
hour beginning July 1, 2007. It will also
increase an additional $0.25 per year until
2010, when the minimum wage will be $8.25 an
hour. Hardworking people deserve to be paid a
dignified wage adequate for supporting
themselves and their families and this move is
an essential first step to helping them achieve
From the desk of State Rep. John Fritchey
While the Legislature has been spending at
least part of the summer in Springfield, I’ve been looking forward to coming
home to spend time with my family, get around the district, and meet with
residents and neighborhood groups. In the meantime, let me take this
opportunity to tell you about some of the issues on which I have been
Closer to home, I understand that government
becomes most apparent when it starts to hit our pocketbooks. As I recently
said in a published letter to the editor, amidst record-high gas prices and
with electric rates on the verge of surging through the roof, failure to
address the issue of skyrocketing property taxes would add tremendous insult
to injury. (You can read the full letter at
www.fritchey.com/newsroom.html) Three years ago, along with my
colleagues in Springfield and Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan,
we passed a law aimed at lessening the impact of the property tax
reassessments from the previous reassessment. Those protections, while
beneficial, expired this year. In the final hours of regular session, the
House passed Senate Bill 13, which extends the “7% cap” as well as providing
additional means of relief. At the time of writing this article, this bill
was also awaiting action by the Senate. (Again, further details on this bill
and others can be found on my website.)
Of course, this legislation will only buy us
time and provide a Band-Aid for the next few years. In the long-run, I
believe that the cure may well rest in converting to a system of
acquisition-based assessment, in which property taxes are tied to the
purchase price of a residence with a reasonable and limited increase
factored in over time.
Property taxes have continued to be one of my
top priorities over the years because it is an issue that I see having one
of the greatest and most direct impacts on my neighbors. I am honored to
represent such a vibrant and engaged neighborhood such as Lakeview, and if
we don’t find a solution to this problem, we will force seniors out of their
homes, and discourage new homebuyers from coming to our growing community.
The most consistent (and justified) criticism
I hear is how tired people are of seeing deceit and impropriety dominate our
local headlines. If we could spend half the time discussing issues of real
importance – like rising property taxes, equitable school funding, and
affordable healthcare – that we do discussing corruption, I think we’d be
much better off.
But that won’t happen until more changes are
made. Since I was elected office eleven years ago, I have tirelessly fought
for better government and reforms to our ethics laws. This year, in
conjunction with Comptroller Dan Hynes, I introduced House Bill 1,
legislation that would end the “pay to play” system in Illinois and
significantly reduce the corrupting influence of large campaign
contributions on the granting of State contracts by prohibiting the awarding
of state business to these big donors. At the time of writing this article,
the bill was awaiting action by the Senate.
While this sweeping piece of legislation is
still pending, two other ‘good government’ bills have been moving forward.
Both of these issues caught my (and probably your) attention in the
newspapers, and I was proud to be able to find immediate solutions. First,
House Bill 419 would prohibit an individual who has been convicted of
a felony related to their elected duties (such as an official accepting
bribes while in office) from running for public office again. In my opinion,
if you defraud the public once, you shouldn’t get the chance to do it again.
Secondly, House Bill 3578 will close a loophole in State law that
allowed Cook County officials to take advantage of special pension
sweeteners upon retirement. This issue most recently came to light with the
retirement of Cook County Commissioner Bobbie Steele. If the Governor signs
HB3578, all officials across the State will be held to the same standard –
and taxpayers will be better off for it.
For now, let me just say that I firmly
believe that it is our growth and diversity that makes this one of the most
remarkable neighborhoods in Chicago. We are on the brink of something truly
exciting in our community. We are rebuilding many of our parks, improving
our schools, welcoming new families to new homes, and ushering in new
leadership at the local level. I’ve never been more excited to work together
to make our great community extraordinary, and hope you will continue to
contact me with your concerns and ideas.
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