Budget Update #2: Proposing Relief for Longtime Homeowners
Dear neighbors, 

Over the past few days, I have received an outpouring of constituent calls, emails and in-person conversations about  Mayor Emanuel's proposed property tax increase, coming on the heels of the unprecedented proposed increases  in the property tax assessments in our neighborhoods -- in some cases, up to 100%.
Many of you who wrote me are close to, or already retired, and living on fixed incomes and want to stay in your home without being forced out.  After decades of service to their communities, the very people who built up the neighborhood feel they may be forced to sell their homes and leave. 

That is why I am proposing we widen protections for longtime homeowners who meet certain criteria.
Attached is the press release describing the concept I presented during Monday's budget hearing. You will note this differs from the Mayor's proposal to freeze taxes for owners with homes valued under $250,000. As we all know, the "paper value" of a home does not correlate to an ability to pay taxes, especially in this Ward.

My colleague, 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno, offers a different approach that gives rebates to households that earn less than $100,000  if Mayor Emanuel's $543 million property tax increase is approved. His approach falls short of protecting our vulnerable populations because it excludes sharp increases in property taxes due to the reassessments.  

The conversation on taxpayer relief has just begun and, while there are no guarantees of acceptance, I pledge to fiercely advocate for a fair solution that acknowledges hardship across our city and does not favor only a narrow range of households. 
This effort is just part of the formidable task of intensely scrutinizing Mayor Emanuel's proposed budget. We must probe ways to cut spending, while still meeting our common goal of righting our financial course.  We also must be sensitive to the needs of young families choosing to remain in the City and our Ward during their children's school years.  I will discuss all of these matters in upcoming budget updates.
A number of you shared the questions you want asked during the budget hearings along with thoughtful suggestions for cost savings. I found these extremely helpful and thank you for your input.
I appreciate your feedback during this process and encourage you to email me with your suggestions and concerns. If you have not yet followed our live tweets during the budget hearings, you may do so at this link
Again, thank you for your participation in this critical moment in our city's history.

REMINDER - Property Tax Appeals Workshop
Thursday, October 1
Lincoln Park Library: 1150 W. Fullerton

In light of the dramatic proposed reassessments in our neighborhood, we strongly encourage you to appeal your assessment and take advantage of every exemption that may be available to you.  To assist you,  please attend a property tax appeals workshop co-hosted by my office

Appeals are accepted through October 14th. At the seminar,  attendees will be instructed on how to file an appeal, as well as how an appeal is granted. Staff will also be on hand to answer any specific questions you may have.  Click here for more information.

Can't attend the seminar, but still have questions? Contact Commissioner Michael Cabonargi at 312-603-5560 or your Cook County Commissioner, who in our Ward is Commissioner John Fritchey or Commissioner Bridget Gainer. You may also feel free to contact my office and we will put you in touch with the correct office. 


Michele Signature

 Michele Smith

 43rd Ward Alderman