Property taxes spike in Rock Island County
The Rock Island County Board has approved a new 11.9 percent property tax levy.
The decision came in the form of a down-to-the-wire, 10-8 vote held Nov. 27. With the decision, lawmakers paved the way for an increase to a property tax rate that was already at 2.56 percent in 2017, then double the national average.
According to Dispatch-Argus reports, six board members did not participate in the vote.
The increase is aimed at filling a nearly $500,000 hole in the county’s general fund, said County Administrator Jim Snider. He added that, for someone with a $100,000 home, rates are expected to increase by about $33 annually.
At the same time, the overall deficit is pegged to remain in the neighborhood of $4.5 million, according to Dispatch-Argus.
The increase comes about despite the opposition of several community leaders, who wasted little time speaking out against the idea at a Truth in Taxation hearing, held on the same night the vote was taken. Like much of the state, Rock Island has faced mounting population-related concerns in recent years, and this latest increase in property taxes is largely viewed as another red flag.
“Illinois has been losing the border war with Iowa for years,” according to the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI). “In the Quad Cities, the Illinois side of the Mississippi River is shrinking, and the Iowa side is growing. This divergence is driven mainly by Rock Island County’s heavy net loss of residents to other counties.”
By comparison, in nearby Scott County, where the effective property tax rate stands at just 1.64 percent, a net gain in overall residents coming from other counties has become commonplace.
“Unfunded pension liabilities are a driving force behind Illinois’ high property taxes,” according to IPI. “The state’s only responsible long-term option for delivering property tax relief is through meaningful pension reform that starts with a constitutional amendment to allow changes to unearned, future pension benefits.”