June 2, 2012

Property Tax: Death of the “American Dream.” ~ Richard Phares

Photo credit: Richard French

Property tax has always been a burden for most homeowners—but I still don’t know why they are using that word when everybody knows that the only owner of homes and everything else is the government.

Yet, far from solving this ordeal for low and very low income families, the public administration has increased taxation even more although the property value has dropped and keeps dropping in every corner of the nation.

Illinois counties like Dupage, Cook and lately Will have raised taxes so high that many people have been and are still being forced to sell their homes before losing them.

A roof of their own and the supposed “American Dream” have turned into a nightmare for the majority of the population who can hardly make ends meet.

These families are being outraged by local and state administrations that seem to be blind to the actual financial hardship that ordinary people are going through every day.

The average worker’s wage ranges from $7.50 to $10 an hour.

Only a few jobs, usually highly-qualified professionals like doctors, lawyers or scientists offer a large source of income.

This working class segregation is causing discrimination between those who can afford large and luxurious houses (usually more than one), and those—a majority—who can hardly pay for what real estate jargon calls a “starter house,” (a generic two to three bedroom single family house, most of the time delivered partially finished by the builder.)

Long-time deprived areas like Joliet have recently become a target for people escaping from Chicago’s high property taxes and harmful and dangerous environment.

The booming of housing development in these areas relatively close to the metropolis has brought the attention of Will County avid and greedy taxing authorities. Local administration has seen a great opportunity to get profit out of this situation by demanding more money from taxpayers.

As an example, the Troy Township School District in Joliet has been systematically doubling the property tax since 2004.

Joliet had become the largest growing area in the USA, according to public records. However, little or nothing has been done to avoid or to relieve this abusive and unrealistic taxation burden.

Joliet and other suburbs have little or no public transportation at all in most areas. Besides, people living in the newly developed outer areas (about 12 miles from the city)need their own means of transportation to even buy groceries.

All that money is only being used ultimately to stuff the already large bank accounts of the government officials.

The administration clearly takes good care only of itself while ignoring the unbearable situation of an increasing number of families that have only one member—generally the father—as their only source of income.

The unstoppable property tax increase along with the bad economic situation worldwide with lay-offs, lack of employment, high price of gas and other basic needs including food, are not just killing the “American Dream,” but also making life even more nonsensical and meaningless.

Most people buy a house to raise their children and so that they have a decent roof to live under. The existence of a property tax contradicts the concept of “private property” by giving the government and the bank the right to take the house that was “purchased with money” and for which the “owner” has a deed or sales contract (what is equal to a sales receipt)

Then, what is it? Is it your house or the government’s house?

To have a place to live is not a privilege but a right of every human being.

However, the greedy attitude of governments—not just the US government, but governments worldwide—has long killed this right, or the so-called “American Dream.”


Richard is a zoologist, graphic designer and writer. Worked for several publications in Chicago and local newspapers. Active member of the United States Humane Society and other charitable associations advocating for animal and human rights. Apolitical, agnostic and all other possible A’s. Likes animals, nature and technology (in good hands). Dislikes stupidity, ignorance, all kinds of powers, any religion, all privileges and social prejudice.


Editor: Jamie Morgan

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