Illinois Senate rejects property tax freeze proposal

SPRINGFIELD — Senate Republicans rejected a proposal on freezing property taxes and changing the school funding formula, but gave some hope that the parties are getting closer on these issues.

The issues were packaged together, along with changes to state contributions to pensions for Chicago teachers, as a compromise to satisfy regional concerns throughout the state.

The legislation would have frozen property taxes everywhere but Cook County in 2016 and 2017, and established a sunset date for the current school aid formula, with the expectation legislation would be crafted by a bipartisan committee by the end of 2016.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) said she considered the bill a good starting point, but couldn’t support it.

“We need to sit down what all of us need in order for this to make sense. So while it’s a good effort, it’s not real, because it’s not really compromise,” Radogno said.

The legislation failed to garner the supermajority support needed to pass.

Radogno hopes the next version allows local governments to reduce their costs in the ways Gov. Bruce Rauner has supported, including changes to collective bargaining and prevailing wage laws.