One popular tactic taken by naysayers is to compare Illinois taxes to those in other states. A recent editorial highlighted the fact that Texas, Georgia and Colorado have lower property taxes than Illinois. The editorial left out the fact that Texas, Georgia and Colorado all receive more federal subsidies than Illinois – meaning our residents are subsidizing the residents of those states through our federal tax payments. The most federally dependent states, according to WalletHub, ranked Georgia at number 24, Texas at 30 and Colorado at 44, while Illinois placed 48.
And since the largest part of our property tax bills fund public education, let’s look at the comparisons here and note how well Illinois does on this metric. According to WalletHub’s public school rankings by state, Illinois came in at number 11. By comparison, Colorado ranked number 15, Texas at 34 and Georgia at 38. Illinois also tied for first place on median SAT scores.
The problem that needs fixing in Illinois is our tax structure: We are overly dependent on property taxes, which hits middle-class homeowners the hardest and results in unequal funding. The new school funding formula is a step in the right direction – once we are able to fully fund it – but does nothing to address our reliance on property taxes. Learn more here about my plan to fix the tax structure in Illinois.
There’s a lot of good in Illinois and as the saying goes, we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Over-simplifying our problems to support a narrative isn’t going to help us solve them.