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Legislative Update

January 20, 2019

The 101st Illinois General Assembly was sworn in this month. Between the Senate and House, we’ve elected 177 ordinary women and men to represent us in Springfield. Our federal legislature may get the majority of the press coverage, but our state legislature has a much greater impact on local issues such as property taxation.

Our new legislators have a Herculean task ahead of them. Last year alone, the members of the General Assembly introduced 3,170 new bills, held 1,215 hearings, and approved 622 pieces of new legislation. And with the majority of the session days held from February to May, this means the typical legislator would need to read, analyze, and understand almost 40 bills a day for five days a week just to keep up.

So how can we help? Here are three ways:

  1. Get to know your senator and representative
    Make sure they know who you are, that you are an expert in the field of property assessment and valuation, and that you’d be happy to answer any questions they might have about the property tax system.
  2. Pay attention to pending legislation
    Both Illinois Assessors Association Legislative Chair John Barrington (jbarrington@elaassessor.org) and I regularly inform our organization’s members about bills that are being considered during each legislative session; be sure to read these e-mails.
  3. If you see something, say something!
    If you have a concern about something you see in a bill (or about something you don’t see that should be there), don’t hesitate to call your legislators.  Politely explain your concerns, and don’t shy away from offering substitute language on how you would solve the issue.  We can’t expect our legislators to know our concerns if we don’t share them.

Keeping up with the legislature may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. By using these three simple steps, the entire assessment community can help the legislature improve the property tax system for the benefit of us all.

Mark D. Armstrong, CIAO, is in his fourth term as Kane County Supervisor of Assessments; he has chaired the Legislative and Policy Committee of the County Assessment Officers Association of Illinois since 2011. Mark can be reached at ArmstrongMark@co.kane.il.us

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