Quad Cities landlord worries about growing property tax burden
It is no secret that Illinois has some of the highest taxes when compared to other states in the United States, especially property taxes.
“Property taxes went up last year, and I’m paying more this year,” JoAnn Maere, who lives in the Quad Cities area, told Rock Island Today. “And I don’t know what it will be next year, because they (politicians) keep talking about raising them (taxes). …Look at all the money I paid in taxes over 28 years.”
Maere is an 83-year-old landlord who rents out a home Rock Island and who has lived in Illinois since she was 7 years old. She watched people and businesses leave the state because of its high tax burden.
“Some other people say they were going to move out of the state, and Exxon was even going to move out of the state,” Maere said. “And people would be out of a job if these businesses keep moving out.”
Maere has spent 31 years in real estate and owned and sold almost 10 houses in that time. Now she has a 35-year-old house in Rock Island that she collects rent on.
“They upped the taxes on that house,” Maere said. “The reason why I kept it for this long is because no one is going to pay me the money for it. The value and property taxes went up on it, but nobody is going to pay that price because of the construction on it.”
Maere says the property taxes had gone up almost 150 percent, so she tries her best to use renters to help cover the costs.
“An extra $600 is a lot of money, but I don’t always get the rent,” she said.
She recalls running into some issues with bad renters in the past who had either broken rules according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards or damaged something in the house that she had to replace when they moved out. When there are civil issues and she needs to serve a tenant court papers, that may cost her extra money down the line.
According to the Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois was ranked the second-worst in the nation for property taxes and has a heavy tax burden in other areas, including sales taxes and income taxes. A proposed two-year tax freeze is supposed to relieve Illinoisans of some of their tax burdens, the think tank noted.
“I can’t take advantage of the tax freeze because I don’t live down there,” Maere said. “The taxes are very high even in the house that I’m living in. When I moved in eight years ago, it was much cheaper, and it’s not that big of a house to pay that much property tax on.”
“It’s a big price for a small place,” she added.
Maere remembers growing up in Illinois, going to the local shopping center and dining out with friends and family.
“You go out to the mall nowadays, you don’t see that many people there because they don’t have any money,” she said. “You go in the store and you see piles and piles of clothes stacked up, but not that many workers or long lines …so there is something wrong.”
Maere still dines out with family from time to time but admits that she recently ate out only because she had a coupon.
“Kind of makes you wonder how the businesses even survive,” she said.
According to Illinois Policy, mainly due to the high tax burden, an estimated 700,000 people moved out of the state between 2006 and 2015.
“I feel the (politicians) misuse the money sometimes,” Maere said. “The taxes are getting real bad, and they spend all this money all the time for incentives for these people who’ve got money already.”