Rural Illinois power plant has higher tax bill than Disneyland, Willis Tower

As I keep saying, Illinois property taxes are a licence to steal — that’s why they are higher. Too bad Republicans here can’t make an issue of it or make more people aware of the “why” of the problem (legalized theft). Here are excerpts from Cole Lauterbach writing at the Illinois News Network:

A plot of land in rural northern Illinois has the highest property tax bill in the United States outside of New York.

Assessed at $546 million, Exelon’s Byron Nuclear Generating Station was charged $36.5 million in property taxes in 2017. That’s a higher tab than all but 20 properties in the nation, all of which are in New York. The Byron plant’s bill put it at No. 21 on a list of the nation’s top 100 property tax bills, right ahead of Disneyland in Anaheim, California…

When New York’s sky-high assessments were removed from the list, Illinois’ property tax bills accounted for half of the top 30 highest bills.

“The highest-paying office buildings are all in Chicago,” Commercial Cafe spokeswoman Adel Dobriban. “Three of the five top taxed industrial properties are in Illinois.”

. . .

This is because the local school district, Byron Community School District 226, brings its own assessor to evaluate the plant’s value and the district’s subsequent cut of the taxes.

“Exelon has been litigating the property tax assessments for Byron Station since the 2012 assessment, and anticipates receiving a ruling from the Property Tax Appeal Board sometime this year,” Exelon spokesman Paul Dempsey said.

While Dempsey said the Chicago-based corporation is committed to paying its fair share of property taxes, he said Exelon is “of the opinion that the more than $36 million in property taxes it pays each year for Byron Station is far in excess of its fair share based on a reasonable assessment of value.”

Of that total tax bill, $18.6 million goes to Byron School District 226, whose annual $30 million budget dwarfs its neighboring districts.

Oregon District 220, for instance, has an annual budget of $15 million. It serves 53 fewer students than the Byron district.

Teachers and administrators in Byron School District 226 have higher average wages than their peers statewide. The average pay for administrators in District 226 was $112,000 in 2017, $6,000 higher than the state average of $106,000. The average salary for Byron School District 226 teachers was $73,000 in 2017, $9,000 more than the state average.

Read more: Illinois News Network

Image credit: Wikipedia/Ben Jacobson.