The Cost of a Two-Year Property Tax Freeze For Illinois Schools: Up to $830 Million
June 23, 2017
Governor Bruce Rauner has made a property tax freeze a centerpiece of his demands for a full state budget, and the Illinois Senate passed a bill (SB484) that would enact a two-year freeze in May. But such a freeze, without provision for replacement revenue from the state, would effectively be a massive funding cut for K-12 education in Illinois.
CTBA analysis finds that in the second year of a two-year freeze, education funding would be between $430 million and $830 million lower than if a freeze were not enacted. The range is a result of the fact that SB484 allows school districts to increase their property tax levies by up to the amount of the Consumer Price Index, or inflation, if doing so is necessary to make debt payments.
These cuts would hit districts all over the state. In Cook County, per-student losses could be nearly $500 per year; in the collar counties, and roughly $380 annually per student in the collar counties and downstate districts. Coming after years of disinvestment in public education, with per capita state K-12 funding down about 13 percent between FY2000 and FY2015, adjusting for inflation, this property tax freeze would impose yet another cut that would impose unnecessary pain on public schools and students across Illinois.