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Kass News: Why middle-income folks having their RE double?

A tale of two cities. No dummy it's a metaphor...didn't you take European Lit?

Our taxes in Arl Hts went up this year by about 30%. Meanwhile, our Steamboat place while being worth 2X our Illinois property has taxes which are 1/5th of what we pay here. God help any middle-income folks living on fixed income in Chicagoland.

Thank you Tony Preckwinkle.

There Are No Victims of The System

By Dan Proft, Kass News

December 13, 2023

“I was hysterical,” Lisa Markiewicz told ABC-7 News recently. “Are we going to lose our house? What do we do? How do we stop this? We worked hard to get here.”

Markiewicz lives in the Cook County portion of Tinley Park, one of the areas comprising this year’s triennial county property tax reassessment. She was hit with a 210% increase in the assessed valuation of her home in a county where any talk of rising home values in the actual marketplace is properly treated as gallows humor.

Forty-five minutes north of Markiewicz, middle-income families in communities like Des Plaines and Schiller Park saw median property tax increases (per their triennial reassessment last year) of nearly 30%; the largest increase in 30 years.

In the collar counties, the situation is generally worse as commercial property taxes do not subsidize residential property taxes in the way they uniquely do in Cook.

Despite that distinction, Cook County homeowners of Tinley Park, Des Plaines, Schiller Park, and those in the collar counties have something in common: they don’t actually own their homes.

During the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention, like cat burglars in the night, Chicago Democrat shot callers quietly seized the homes of Cook County families to use as collateral to finance the seven-figure net present value, defined-benefit pensions they guaranteed for their political warriors in the public sector unions.

They have been slowly liquidating people’s homes through confiscatory property taxes ever since.

“The system is broken,” said Markiewicz.


To paraphrase what I once said about the entire State of Illinois, Cook County isn’t broken. It’s fixed.

The System is producing exactly what those in charge desire.

In 1972, two years after the new state constitution, the longest-serving state House Speaker in American history, Mike Madigan, founded his property tax appeals law firm, Madigan & Getzendanner.

Golly, I wonder what opportunity Madigan identified from the system he enshrined “legally” (this is a word that should always be accompanied by scare quotes when used in reference to Illinois)?

Probably the same opportunity the longest serving Chicago Alderman in Chicago History, Ed Burke, saw when he ascended to Chairman of the city’s Finance Committee a decade later and launched a similarly lucrative property tax appeals business within his law firm, Klafter & Burke.

Therefore, getting back to poor Lisa Markewicz of Tinley Park, we should all feel great empathy for her and her neighbors and bring down fiery condemnation on the longevity lords of The System, right?

Not exactly.

At some point over the past five decades, this stopped being a story of politicians fleecing their constituents and became a story about the residents of Cook County and ultimately greater Chicagoland playing Patty Hearst to the Chicago Democrats’ Symbionese Liberation Army.

Madigan and Burke were getting property tax relief in the billions for their corporate clients while Joe Punchclock and Sally Housecoat saw the property taxes on their bungalow launched upward like a Space X satellite.

Yet, Joe & Sally threw in with Madigan & Burke. They didn’t question the local government school superintendent’s salary. They didn’t question K12 spending at all, in fact, even up against student achievement. And they certainly didn’t question the innumerable sweeteners and other pension manipulations by the public sector unions. Further, they punished anyone who did.

The Joes & Sallys of Cook & the Collars consistently re-elected Madigan’s & Burke’s city and suburban loyalists.

The Joes & Sallys were Madigan’s & Burke’s alibis. They couldn’t have been stealing from us, officer, they were with me last night serving the community.

Madigan & Burke loved to tell those beautiful lies, and the Joes & Sallys loved to hear those lies again and again.

It was a five-decade sing-along in tribute to The System,

“Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me: There lie they, and here lie we

Under the spreading chestnut tree.”

Just as in “1984,” the Joes & Sallys took the political lords’ anthem of deceit, injustice and betrayal that was dressed up in high-minded antonyms. And they made that anthem their own.

Now that the Joes & Sallys are being done in by The System they propagated, they cry out for help.

Where are the authorities? You mean the Cook County judges slated by Madigan & Burke you ratified? You mean the Cook County States’ Attorneys they selected, and you elected? You mean the U.S. Attorneys selected by U.S. Senators you elected backed by Madigan & Burke drawn from the “legal” arm of The System they erected?

The Joes & Sallys would have us believe they haven’t noticed how absent those authorities have been for the last 50 years except to occasionally put away from some dim-witted, bribe-taking alderman or sloppy governor who fell out of favor with The System. Appearances must be maintained.

Some Joes & Sallys plead, “I didn’t know, really.” But they did. They knew. They participated. And even those who didn’t participate should’ve known regardless. A basic understanding of what is happening around you is a small price to pay to live in a free society.

Moreover, willful ignorance of the law is no defense to punishment under it and neither is willful ignorance of The System.

Here we are.

The two longevity lords who bilked tens, maybe hundreds, of millions of dollars out of The System are going to spend their 80s, or whatever time they have left in federal prison. Appearances must be maintained by The System at the federal level too.

And Lisa Markiewicz and the rest of Chicagoland’s Joes & Sallys will continue to be whittled down to nothing by The System they spent their adult lives serving.

I, for one, can muster no empathy. Their System beat it out of me.

About the author:

Dan Proft is the co-host of the radio program, “Chicago’s Morning Answer” on AM 560 and the host of the “Counterculture” podcast at and the usual podcast platforms.

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