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Pappas Studies

Tax Year 2020 Tax Bill Analysis

  • First-of-its-kind analysis of nearly 1.8 million bills.

  • $16.1 billion collected this year, an increase of $534 million from last year (3.4%).

  • Commercial property billed more than $7 billion, increase of 410 million (6.2%) from last year.

  • Residential property billed $8.9 billion, increase of 114 million (1.3%) from last year.

  • Tax increases hit majority Black and Latino communities – homes and businesses – the hardest.


20-Year Property Tax History

  • Compiled data for all Cook County property for 20 years.

  • Total taxes billed increased 99 percent, from $7.85 billion to $15.58 billion from 2000 to 2019.

  • Residential properties skyrocketed 164% in Chicago, 116% in suburbs.

  • Commercial properties jumped 81% in Chicago, 54% in suburbs.

  • The cost of living rose just 36% over 20 years, wages for workers rose by 57%.

  • Any taxpayer can see their own 20-year increase on


Top 50 - 20-Year Property Tax Increases

  • Discloses the Top 50 Property Index Numbers (PINs) with the largest tax increases from 2000 to 2019 in Chicago and the suburbs, for both residential and commercial property.

  • The bill for a condominium on East Lake Shore Drive in Chicago jumped 1,890%, from $6,700 to nearly $134,000

  • A two-story house in suburban Winnetka saw a 1,174 percent tax increase, from $53,000 to $675,000.



  • Since 2011:

    1. Only 29% of the voting-age population in Chicago has cast ballots in elections.

    2. The voting-age percentage is 26% in suburban areas.


Scavenger Sale

  • The office has already collected more than 99.77 percent of property taxes when the delinquent sale takes place.

  • Areas in Cook County that have the most delinquent properties also are:

    1. losing population

    2. have large property tax increases

    3. have the most violent crime

  • Of the 51,320 properties offered at the last seven sales, 25,601 (50%) are vacant lots.


Debt Study

  • Since 2009, collecting debt figures for 547 local governments in Cook County that set 2,200 different taxing district levies.

  • Total debt in Cook County is $153.4 billion.

  • From 2016 to early 2021, the total debt grew by $22.8 billion (16.6%)

  • During that same period, the consumer price index (CPI) in the Chicago region grew by 8%.

  • Much of the debt is rooted in unfunded pension liabilities.

  • New functionality on allows individual property owners to see the total amount of local government debt attributed to that property.

  • In some municipalities, property taxes are so high that homeowners end up paying far more in taxes over the course of a 30-year mortgage than they paid for the home itself.

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