Springfield races to finish budget, McPier deals | Crain’s Chicago Business


And they approved a measure pushed by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and the Chicago Community Trust that will shake up the way Cook and other counties deal with tax-delinquent property.

Informed capital sources say the budget deal has been slightly tweaked from the version unveiled yesterday by Pritzker, Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch.  For instance, hourly pay for home health care workers will rise by $2.50 an hour, rather than the $2 figure announced earlier or the $1.50 an hour originally recommended by Pritzker.

Despite those changes, the core of the deal remains intact. That’s to cut anticipated spending on health insurance for undocumented immigrants from the $1.1 billion estimated by Pritzker to $550 million.

That freed up money for other things. Included: an increase of three tenths of a percentage point in the share of state income taxes that go to municipalities, the so-called local distributive share, which will rise to 6.47% from 6.14% now, according to Illinois Municipal League chief Brad Cole. That and natural revenue growth will net munys an additional $112 million next year, Cole said, with Chicago and Mayor Brandon Johnson getting about a fifth of that.

Pritzker and Democrats say the budget is balanced and reasonable, reflecting an anticipated decline in state revenues next year. But Republicans such as House GOP Leader Tony McCombie in a statement griped that items such as extending the research-and-development tax credit and fully phasing out the franchise tax failed to make the cut.

On Lightfoot ex-aide Samir Mayekar, a motion to undo her appointment of him to the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority board was abruptly pulled off the House floor Wednesday evening after advocates headed by the Chicago Federation of Labor concluded it lacked the votes to pass.

A compromise of sorts then was offered, one that would allow anyone appointed by a mayor at the end of their term to serve, but only for six months, after which the new mayor would get to fill the slot.

All sides were declining comment while talks and vote-counting continued.

One measure that did pass both chambers affects what happens to the tens of thousands of properties that are years behind on their property taxes.

One change would allow local governments to claim title after just one attempt to sell the land for back taxes, rather than seeing the property continuing to decline after a failed sale. Advocates say that would allow municipalities,  land banks and other to more quickly try to revitalize the property.

A second change is aimed at speculators. Under current law, they now can acquire control of delinquent property for pennies on the dollar, but return it the county with interest as long as three years later if they discover some minor flaw, such as a $100 mowing lien. Such buyers got more than $277 million in refunds and interest between from 2015 to 2022, Pappas says.

A third shift would cut the interest rate on late payment of property tax bills in half, to 9%. Sponsors say most of the savings would go to low-income Black and Latino homeowners who under current law stand to lose their homes over relatively small amounts of debt.

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May 25, 2023 at 05:13PM

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