Illinois Ballot Initiative Could Hike Property Taxes

Bob Tivnan, Vice President and Principal Consultant 630.413.9381 |

Illinois property taxes are reported to be the second highest in the nation. Analysts are concerned that the tax burden will worsen if a proposed constitutional amendment is approved in the November general election. Amendment 1 seeks to give Illinois government unions unprecedented bargaining powers that do not exist in any other state. It would preclude the state of Illinois and any local governmental entity from passing a “right-to-work” law, establishing a fundamental right of employees to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.

How This Relates to Property Tax

Throughout Illinois, public pension debt is driving property taxes higher. Local governments have pension debt worth $75 billion that causes property taxes to rise each year. The pension shortfall is especially evident in the city of Chicago. Of the nearly $94 million current property tax increase, $42 million will be used to make up shortfalls in pension funding. Chicago’s eight pension funds have accumulated nearly $45 billion in debt, more debt than 44 U.S. states. According to a recent Muddy River News article, “more union power means higher property taxes. If Amendment 1 passes, Illinois’ trend of large annual property tax increases will likely grow faster than ever.”


State Representative Blaine Wilhour has gone on record against Amendment 1, saying, “I represent a working-class district. I support unions and non-unions. But let’s recognize, unions don’t create jobs. Special interest pandering may create campaign donations, but it doesn’t create jobs.” Organizations opposing Amendment 1 include:

  • Illinois Association of School Boards
  • Illinois Chamber of Commerce
  • Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
  • National Federation of Independent Business


State Representative Lance Yednock supports Amendment 1. “One of the most diabolical ways to limit collective bargaining is through so called right-to-work laws. States that limit collective bargaining see declines in wages, benefits, training, and safety standards. And it’s a losing proposition for all workers,” Yednock explained. Organizations supporting Amendment 1 include:

  • Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois
  • Chicago Laborers’ District Council
  • Chicago Teachers Union
  • Illinois AFL-CIO
  • Illinois Federation of Teachers
  • Illinois Pipe Trades Association
  • SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana

As reported on June 21, 2022 by Muddy River News: “Amendment 1 would guarantee a $2,100 property tax hike for typical Illinois family.” If this is the case, what future would Amendment 1 portend on property taxes for commercial and industrial businesses in the state? This is the maelstrom facing Illinois voters in November.