To the Editor:
On Thursday, March 30 and Tuesday, April 4, WTTW Chicago Tonight reported on Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26) sponsorship of Senate Bill 2778, which shamefully enjoyed bipartisan supports as it was voted into law. Mitchell’s bill has shortened the window of time that taxpayers have to get their overdue property tax bills in before their homes are sold, from one year down to nine months.
The imagery of seniors fighting to pay their taxes as their window of time was slashed was infuriating. As a taxpayer, I have grown weary of elected officials who operate in the interest of developers, tax investors and other corporate interest of developers, tax investors and other corporate interest at the expense of low-income and middle-class families.
Mitchell’s excuse that he sponsored legislation to keep homeowners from being impacted by the sunset of previous legislation doesn’t hold water. Whose interest is he trying to protect? Why didn’t he propose legislation to end tax sales altogether or minimally provide seniors with more time to pay? When will he fight for us, instead of consistently having to manufacture explanations for giving us the shaft?
The truth, in this case, is simple; this legislation greased skids for investors that engage in tax sales; at the expense of seniors that often rely on social security or modest pensions. In addition to holding properties of families in limbo, investors get a kick back from the county and collect interest on money paid by desperate homeowners.
The pain felt by this legislation is being felt by not only Mitchell’s constituents but close to 20,000 residents throughout the county. Many are seniors whose taxes will be sold because they are few hundred dollars delinquent on taxes. The good representative should have to meet with them.
When will we get decisive action in the interest of working families from Rep. Mitchell? Willie Wilson’s effort to pay the delinquent taxes was decisive action. Mitchell is decisive only when he is working or against our interest. Unfortunately, this is not new behavior.
Mitchell voted to slash the pension of educators with his head scratching support for Senate Bill 1 and seemed catatonic as children in his district suffered through education inequity and school closings; only to blindly give his support to school privatization. As a retired school social worker, Mitchell has shown me who he is. We should all take notice.
Retired Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Social Worker
People United for Action