Chicago -- Penalties go up this week for those who are late on their property taxes. For thousands of Chicagoans, the penalty will be on top of this year's already large tax hikes.
The Chicago Republican Party will be distributing flyers in swing wards this week to let voters know who is responsible.
While Chicagoans are suffering from the nation's highest tax burden, House Speaker Mike Madigan has made millions from lowering the taxes of the select few who can afford to pay his bills. Madigan is a partner in a law firm that specializes in reducing the property taxes of big downtown buildings.
The scam works like this:
Big developers pay Madigan's firm to challenge their property tax bills. Madigan, who is the Democratic Party's state chairman, has his partners talk to Assessor Joe Berrios, who is the Democratic Party's Cook County chairman. Berrios, not coincidentally, gets heavy political support and campaign contributions from Madigan. And magically, the big developers get lower tax bills.
Maybe the developers think that using Madigan's political connections will give them a bigger break on property taxes. Or maybe they're just looking for a legal way to throw Madigan some money so they'll get special consideration on the issues they have in Springfield.
In either case, Madigan takes their money and puts it in his pocket, while normal taxpayers pay more and more.
"We're sick of being at the back of the line for tax relief while Madigan helps his pals," said Chris Cleveland, Chairman of the Chicago GOP. "Every group gets its cut except people who actually work for a living."
"Bruce Rauner has put a stop to a lot of it, for the moment," said Cleveland. "But he can only do so much while Madigan rules Springfield like a dictator. Madigan has got to go. 45 years in power is enough.
"Every dime in tax breaks for Madigan’s pals is a dime that doesn't go to schools. We need to get our priorities straight and support candidates for the state house who don't bend to Madigan's will."