Taxpayers Receive Unwelcome News

Dr. Arie Friedman for Illinois State Senate (29th District)…

“Many Cook County property taxpayers received unwelcome news in the mail early this week, news of a tax hike,” said Dr. Arie Friedman, Republican State Senate candidate in the 29th District, “delivered in the form of their second installment real estate tax bills.”

Friedman noted the mailing from the Cook County treasurer included “a catchy little insert called ‘Want to Know Why Your Taxes Are So High?’ It offers an interesting argument – that the hikes in taxes for the various local governments were caused by ‘mounting debts,’ but that approach goes only so far,” he said.

“More fundamentally, why are local governments facing ‘mounting debts?’” asked Friedman. “And why the dramatic increase all at once?”

Friedman encouraged taxpayers to examine the spending and labor relations practices of their local units of government and school districts. “But look, too,” he said, “to the actions of your legislators in Springfield.”

Friedman noted the General Assembly some years ago had imposed a seven percent cap on increases in property tax assessments, “which offered some hope of relief,” he said. “But the relief was short-lived and proved to be as risky as the failed experiment in wage-and-price controls. Why? Because the freeze had a draw-down schedule, and the sun is now setting on that tax break without any real reforms in state mandates, public employee labor relations rules and pension obligations.

“As with the punitive hikes in state income taxes in January,” said Friedman, “the General Assembly’s inattention to root causes and substantive reforms now is a critical cause of property tax shock.

“Illinois has lost 105,000 jobs since the state raised the income tax in January,” said Friedman. “Property tax increases in our state’s largest county are not going to help employers generate new jobs,” he said. “It looks to me a lot like piling on at the very time when we should be reforming these systems and giving taxpayers room to breathe.

“How will families already struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments and hold onto their jobs – or find a job to replace one that Springfield has killed – face these increases in their property taxes?” he asked. “And how can anyone justify property tax increases – delivering windfalls to local governments – at the very time that property values are dramatically falling? So many homeowners are ‘under water’ on their mortgages, and now they’re being told their assessments are actually going up? It’s outrageous!”

Friedman is a pediatrician and small businessman running for an open seat after the retirement of Sen. Susan Garrett (D). The 29th District encompasses southeast Lake County and parts of Wheeling, Palatine, Northfield and New Trier Townships in northern Cook County.

Dr. Friedman and his wife Michelle are parents of five children and live in Highland Park. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he finished at the top of his medical school class at the University of Illinois Medical Center in 1998. He opened a pediatric medicine practice in Lake County in 2001. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Friedman served in the United States Navy as a helicopter pilot. During his seven years of active duty, Dr. Friedman flew SH-60B Seahawk helicopters out of Naval Air Station North Island, California, from which he deployed twice, including once to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Storm.

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