SPRINGFIELD -- A proposed $500 property tax break in Gov. Pat Quinn's budget plan would replace an existing credit and would give the least additional help to people in relatively wealthy areas like some suburbs.
Illinois lets you claim an income tax credit of 5 percent of your property taxes now. So, for example, a homeowner who pays $5,000 in taxes in a year can get a $250 credit when filing tax returns.
Under Quinn's plan, that same homeowner would get a flat $500, an increased credit of $250. Homeowners who pay big property tax bills would get a smaller increase in their credit from Quinn's $500 plan because they already get big credits now.
That's caused some skepticism among suburban lawmakers who represent relatively wealthy areas.
"There's no incentive for local governments to hold down their property taxes under his plan. So Pat Quinn's property tax relief doesn't help everybody," state Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican, said.
Homeowners who pay $10,000 in property taxes get $500 in income tax credits now and would see no change under Quinn's plan. Those paying more than $10,000 in property taxes would get less under Quinn's plan than they do now.
Quinn's office says 92 percent of Illinois homeowners will get a benefit of some kind. He called it the most significant property tax relief in state history, and it had its supporters in the suburbs.
"I welcome the governor's commitment to funding education through the income tax rather than the property tax, which unfairly burdens poor school districts," state Sen. Mike Noland, an Elgin Democrat, said.
Quinn proposed the property tax credit as part of his annual budget address Wednesday and offered the break as a way to help make his plan to extend 2011 income tax hike more palatable.
Renters who don't pay property taxes don't get a credit now and still wouldn't under Quinn's plan.