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COOK COUNTY | Cook County Clerk David Orr confirmed his endorsement of first-time candidate Fritz Kaegi, of Oak Park, in his Democratic primary bid to oust Assessor Joe Berrios.
The veteran clerk, who’s not running again after seven terms, cited the “need to clean up” the assessor’s office, particularly the inequities in the property tax system. A Chicago Tribune investigation brought to light the issue in its “Tax Divide” series. The report found that the county’s property tax system created an inequity, handing financial breaks to homeowners who are well-off while punishing those who are among the least, such as people living in minority communities.
Orr said he’s frustrated that there have been no changes since the Tribune’s stories ran in June. In the meantime, thousands of homes have been reassessed, he said. Despite a July announcement by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle that a probe of the entire assessment system was underway, two meetings to move that process along have since been canceled, Orr said.
Following is a statement from Fritz Kaegi, the progressive Democrat running against incumbent Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios in the March 2018 primary election, in response to Berrios’ testimony before the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Friday.
“Joe Berrios stood before the Cook County Board and claimed with a straight face that the assessment model Cook County uses is ‘a very good one.’ He should tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Cook County working families who are grossly and systematically over-assessed every year. Meanwhile, he lets wealthy property owners off the hook–as long as they hire property tax attorneys who donate to his political fund. Let’s not forget that, for years, he has refused to reveal how Cook County calculates assessments. That is unique among county assessors in Illinois.”
“Joe Berrios wants us to ignore the well documented facts and simply pretend everything is fine. Cook County homeowners struggling to stay above water know differently.”
Joining Orr, is influential Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans, who announced her support for Kaegi,