Run-down homes could get property tax freeze

By Jim McCabe on May 9 at 8:48am

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New legislation may impact vacant and abandoned homes that are an eyesore for some Jacksonville residents and other communities across the state.

State rep Art Turner says putting a property tax freeze on the homes will give people incentive to buy them and fix them up.

“The freeze will be available only in distressed areas to homebuyers as well as investors who want to take on significant rehabilitation,” says Turner. “The program is limited to areas that have experienced poor to little or low-quality market rate investment due to high vacancy rates and low home values.”

Representative John Bradley supports the idea but he worries that other homeowners won’t reap the same benefits.

“I go into a very nice neighborhood that’s got foreclosures. I find a house, put a tremendous amount of improvements in that house, my property taxes are going to end up being half of what my neighbors are,” says Bradley. “And so now, I have a very valuable piece of real estate.”

A House committee held a short debate about the plan to freeze property taxes, but lawmakers are still trying to come to an agreement on how it might work. Supporters say it’s a no-brainer because it’ll boost home values in areas in Illinois that have high gang and crime activity.