Last week, the Tribune published Cook County Assessor James Houlihan’s fiscal reform proposal. He wants to restructure the state sales tax and the state income tax, claiming that this would not only balance the state budget but also provide more funds to localities, theoretically allowing them to reduce real estate taxes.
But Mr. Assessor, how about the assessment and extension of real estate taxes. You know, the stuff you do? Can’t you improve that? Maybe you could start by assessing vacant land properly? And making sure that land value is fully included in all assessments? That’s not going to discourage any economic activity.
Then maybe we could ask the solons of the Cook County Board to change the property classification system, assessing improvements at only 40% of the ratio applied to land value? They could do this under existing law. Maybe they could even exempt improvements entirely? And, while we’re asking the Illinois General Assembly to reform things, why not eliminate the sales and income taxes, by resurrecting the state sales tax?
Regular readers of this blog, and Henry George School students, know why this is a good idea. Evidently Assessor Houlihan doesn’t want us to even think about it.