Parents, homeowners call on Pritzker Family to pay their fair share of taxes
March 1, 2012
homeowners, hotel workers and community leaders today called on Chicago Board of Education member Penny Pritzker to drop pending tax appeals on her home and to encourage her family members to pay their fair share. The outcry comes as hospitality workers union UNITE HERE released its report exposing efforts by members of the Pritzker family to lower their property tax bills at the expense of Chicago's schools, parks, and libraries.
"When billionaires pay less taxes, we all pay the price," said Linda O'Neal, a server at the W Chicago Lakeshore and homeowner with three children enrolled in Chicago Public Schools. "I don't make the kind of money the Pritzkers make, but I pay my fair share of taxes. It's time for Chicago's wealthiest family to stand up and stop hurting our communities."
UNITE HERE reviewed property tax records of the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park residences of members of the billionaire Pritzker family, including Tom Pritzker, Penny Pritzker, Nick Pritzker, and Gigi Pritzker Pucker, as well as business associate and Hyatt Hotels CEO Mark Hoplamazian. The union's research revealed that those properties' owners have appealed their assessments at least 70 times since 2003, and have lowered tax payments by over $300,000 from 2006 to 2010.
Penny Pritzker is one of seven members of the Chicago Board of Education, which receives most of the property taxes paid by Chicago homeowners. Her husband, Bryan Traubert, is the President of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners, which is also partially funded by property taxes. Two appeals on the value of Ms. Pritzker's house are before the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board. If the appeal succeeds, the refund could come at the expense of the Chicago Board of Education and other public agencies.
"I think it's unacceptable that Penny Pritzker sits on the Chicago Board of Education, and at the same time is fighting to lower her property taxes at our schools' expense," said Teran Loeppke, an ordained clergyperson in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. "Ms. Pritzker should drop her appeals immediately, and commit to stop fighting against the interests of our city's students."
The full report, entitled "Tax Relief for Billionaires: Property Taxes and the Pritzker Family," is available at www.HyattHurts.org.