Greising: The Pros and Cons of Tying Property Taxes to Inflation

Mayor Lori Lightfoot's plan to hike property taxes in the city of Chicago annually - based on increases in the cost of living, is designed to avoid the fits and starts of the current system. Against all odds, this idea might possibly make sense.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to hike property taxes in the city of Chicago annually, based on increases in the cost of living, is designed to avoid the fits and starts of the current system. As we stand, mayors and the City Council avoid property tax hikes by whatever means necessary — sometimes to the detriment of the city’s welfare.

Against all odds, Lightfoot’s idea might possibly make sense.

As a matter of principle, politicians should be required to attach their names to any tax hike. There are fair concerns that by indexing tax increases to the cost of living, the mayor’s plan would take the sting out of raising taxes and encourage both increased taxes and profligate spending.

The idea of automatic annual increases also raises concerns about the cumulative effect of the plan.   

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