Eamon Kelly, Democratic candidate for state representative in the 18th District, says local homeowners’ tax bills highlight the need to shift Illinois’ tax structure away from property taxes to an income-based system.

“This week I’ve spoken with hundreds of concerned residents who have seen their property taxes rise seven, eight, nine percent or more,” Kelly said. “I too received my property tax bill last week and can appreciate their frustration.”

Few of the homeowners Kelly has spoken to had seen any increase in their income in the last year, and several were making less than they did the year before. Yet their property taxes went up substantially.

“The fact that property taxes are rising at the same time property values and incomes are dropping demonstrates the need to reform our tax system, and come up with a fairer way of generating revenue,” Kelly said.

Kelly, a former interim Chief of Staff of the State Board of Education, says replacing property taxes with income taxes as the primary way of funding education and other key priorities will establish a more responsible state budget.

“The current system is taxing people without recognizing their current economic circumstance; many property owners — particularly senior citizens and people who lost their job — simply can’t afford to absorb these types of increases year after year,” Kelly said. “As state representative, I intend to be a fighter to reform the tax structure and end our reliance on property taxes so local homeowners will see some relief under a fairer policy.”

Kelly supports comprehensive school funding reform that (1) replaces property tax with income tax as the primary funding source for Illinois schools; (2) creates a “lock-box” ensuring that legislators cannot raid school funding; (3) provides strong per student foundational funding to all schools; (4) fully funds special education services; and (5) protects the ability of local communities to supplement state funding with locally raised revenue.

“It’s time the Governor and lawmakers summon the political courage that has been lacking for a long time, and end our over-reliance on property taxes,” Kelly said.