Tax Sale Reform Bill Addresses Longtime Displacement of Black, Brown Families

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

A new state legislative proposal seeks to prevent longtime owner-occupants from losing their homes to investors in the Cook County annual tax sale. SB 74 and HB 1238 were introduced respectively by Senator Robert Peters (D-South Shore) and Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin (D-Matteson) in Springfield. The legislation creates a monthly payment plan for homeowners who fall behind on their property tax bill and exempts them from the annual tax sale so long as their payment plan is in good standing. Currently, homeowners must pay their delinquent taxes in full within one year, plus compounding interest, to avoid being subject to the annual tax sale where they can be acquired by investors in a bidding process.

The annual tax sale has been shown to have significant disparate impacts on Black and Brown communities. Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, who administers the tax sale, has released a series of reports and interviews on the topic. Treasurer Pappas has publicly endorsed a list of needed reforms including interest reduction and a payment plan option. This initiative is led by Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Housing Action Illinois, the Chicago Community Trust, The ReBirth of Greater Roseland/Communities United, the Chicago Rehab Network, and the Chicago Community Loan Fund. This reform is also supported by the Housing Policy Task Force, a coalition of more than twenty advocacy and housing organizations working to increase access to the wealth-building opportunities of homeownership for people of color.

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