By: Mark Glennon*
How much would your Cook County property taxes have to increases just to stop the bleeding in the county’s pension — just to halt the unfunded liability from growing? Well, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has been saying the unfunded liability is now growing at about $30 million per month, or $360 million per year. Let’s assume that’s right –a silly assumption because it’s probably much worse — but let’s go with her numbers.
Now, Cook County’s total property tax collections, according to its most recent financial statements, are about $700 million per year. $360 million is 51% of that. That’s the answer: If property taxes were used to stabilize the pension, a 51% increase would be required.
Cook County gets its money from other taxes and fees it levies, so it could hit you up in some other manner. And Cook County’s property tax is just one line among many on the tax bill you get if you own property here. (Believe it or not, Cook County has over 1,500 taxing bodies just within its borders!) Which other ones you have on your bill depend on where you live. They may or may not have similar problems with their pensions.
But the point about Cook County should be clear. Property tax bills would need a 51% increase just to stabilize. Never mind how much more it would take to start paying off the unfunded liability of almost $7 billion, for the County pension alone, including healthcare.
Just a little tidbit in the unparallelled mess we are in.
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.