Martwick Exposes Threats to Senior Citizen Property Tax Relief Program, Urges Governor to Approve Funding to Save Seniors’ Homes

Martwick Exposes Threats to Senior Citizen Property Tax Relief Program, Urges Governor to Approve Funding to Save Seniors’ Homes

Springfield, Illinois – State Rep. Robert Martwick, D-Chicago, is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign legislation approving needed funding for a state program that helps seniors across Illinois avoid potentially devastating tax bills and stay in their homes.

“Senior homeowners across Illinois living on fixed incomes need help with their property tax bills. Another burden cannot be placed on them because the governor refuses to approve the necessary funding,” Martwick said. “The state has made a commitment to pay the property taxes of seniors enrolled in a tax-savings program, and it needs to stand behind that commitment.”

Martwick is fighting to preserve the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Program. Democrats in the General Assembly have twice passed an appropriation to cover the costs of the program, most recently on April 13. However, Rauner vetoed the $8 million appropriation last year, and has yet to sign the measure now on his desk. Without the funding, seniors participating in the program may be forced to pay the portion of their taxes the state committed to supporting. If they are unable to make this payment, seniors across Illinois could lose their homes.

The property tax program at risk allows senior homeowners at least 65 years old to defer a maximum of $5,000 per tax year on their primary home. Depending on the value of the home and the location, this deferral could cover all or a portion of the home’s property taxes for the year.

The deferral is similar to a loan. A lien is filed on the property in order to ensure repayment of the deferral. The state pays the property taxes and then recovers the money, plus 6 percent annual interest, when the property is sold or transferred.

“Programs serving the elderly, including those that provide in-home medical care, meals to the homebound and protective services, have been affected by no state budget. Now, the lack of a state budget is jeopardizing seniors’ homes,” Martwick said. “Governor Rauner has the power to stop this. He should approve funding for the tax deferral program in Senate Bill 2046, even if he has to use his line-item veto authority, and protect senior homeowners from serious harm.”

(State Rep. Martwick Office)
Robert Martwick Photo: Arch. prvt.

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