Correcting the Record on Property Tax Legislation

State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26)
As many of you know, [the April 3,] deadline to pay off any delinquent property taxes from 2015 has generated a lot of news coverage – particularly around the issue of how long property owners had to pay their back taxes without being subject to the bi-annual tax sale.

Among the news coverage, there has been some misinformation spread about a bill that Senator Daniel Biss and I sponsored back in 2014 to extend the amount of time property owners had to pay their back taxes. Regrettably, some of that misinformation came from Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas last night on Chicago Tonight.

Let me start by giving you some context. Following the 2008 housing crisis, there were an exceptionally large number of Cook County residents who were delinquent on their property taxes. In an effort to provide relief to homeowners who needed more time to pay their 2009 property taxes, a series of laws were passed that gave homeowners an additional 12 months to pay their taxes. However, without action, that extension was set to expire in 2014.

So in the Spring of 2014, in order to continue providing that extra time to struggling homeowners, Senator Biss and I sponsored Senate Bill 2778,which extended the window for an additional 3 years, and was a direct initiative of the Cook County Treasurer’s office.  We passed that law because we thought it would have been wrong to abruptly end the extension, leaving homeowners with much less time to catch up on their back taxes.Remember, had we not passed SB 2778, that 12-month extension would have expired completely.

Treasurer Pappas’ mischaracterization of what this bill did, and her denial of supporting it is confusing — especially given that she wrote a letter to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle dated April 8, 2014, that demanded her personal and political support for SB 2778. She ended that letter saying, “To continue allowing your constituents reasonable time to pay their taxes, express your support for SB 2778.” We’ve included a link to that letter here for you to read.

Additionally, you should know that just last week, we passed House Bill 155, which will guarantee the 12-month extension moving forward. That bill is now under consideration in the Senate.  

I hope this clears up any confusion as to what our legislation back in 2014 did and the support that we had for it from both Cook County residents and our local elected officials. Should you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at 773-924-1755 or email us

State Rep. Christian Mitchell