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House Committee Considers Property Tax Freeze for Abandoned Homes

Updated: Monday, May 12 2014, 10:06 AM CDT
ILLINOIS --
A state house committee is debating a plan to freeze property taxes on
abandoned homes. Some lawmakers believe a tax freeze would entice
people to buy and refurbish these homes and help revitalize run-down
neighborhoods. Josephy Yeley is renovating an old and dilapidated house.
"Just the style. Just everything that it could be is what drawed us to
it. The challenge of it," Yeley said. One of those challenges is paying
for the renovations, but an Illinois house committee is considering a
bill that would put a temporary property tax freeze on abandoned, vacant
homes. "A lot more people would buy houses like this with a tax freeze
on them. Some of these houses the old, historical homes like this one
is, they have back taxes still on them and if somebody wiped that off
the slate, a lot more people would be able to pick up houses like this,"
Yeley said. Some believe the plan would also boost home values and even
end up saving the city money. "Public works is usually getting sent out
to help cut the grass and to pick up the garbage that gets dumped, a
lot of times there's nuisance calls that the police or the firefighters
have to deal with," said Michelle Higginbotham, President of the Enos
Park Neighborhood Improvement Association. It's not cheap to fix up
blighted houses. "It cost quite a bit of money to refurbish a house like
this and every time we turn around we got to pay some kind of tax on it
and that money could be put into the home itself," Yeley said. We spoke
with the president of the Harvard Park Neighborhood Association. She
says many would argue against a property tax freeze because it would
mean less money for schools. But Higginbotham says typically the
property owners of the abandoned homes are paying minimal if any
property taxes anyway. The property tax freeze bill will be brought up
again at a house committee hearing next Wednesday.    


House Committee Considers Property Tax Freeze for Abandoned Homes


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