Legislation that improves local taxing bodies’ ability to properly budget based on property assessment data was approved in the Illinois Senate this week. The amendment to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) is sponsored by State Senator Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles).
“This is a technical change to PTELL that will make a big difference for our local taxing districts, like schools, that rely on assessment data to properly budget and plan for issues such as programming and staffing,” said Sen. DeWitte. “As frustrating and burdensome as property taxes are in this state, we must ensure our governmental entities that depend on those revenues to provide important public services that we rely upon are funded at expected levels. This measure is not a tax increase; it simply closes a loophole that has created unanticipated revenue reductions for taxing bodies.”
According to DeWitte, when taxing bodies set their levies, they do so based on Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) data provided by township assessors. However, due to human error, appeals and other issues, the amount of revenue that ultimately arrives is less than what was committed. When the funds that arrive are less than what was expected, it throws budgets out of balance. Senate Bill 508 guarantees the calculated assessment value committed by assessors and pushes assessment changes and the extension shortfalls to the next tax year’s assessed valuation.
Huntley School District 158 Chief Financial Officer Mark Altmayer, who also serves as the President of the Illinois Association of School Board Officials (IASBO), said these assessment issues have resulted in some school districts having budget shortfalls as high as $2 million per year. “At a time when over 75% of school districts in Illinois are at Tier I and Tier II under the Evidence Based Formula, these dollars are critical to maintain and improve services for our students and communities,” said Altmayer.
SB 508 received unanimous support in the Senate and is now pending in the Illinois House, where State Representative Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook) is serving as the Chief House Sponsor.