U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is amongst greater than 27,000 owners in Cook County, Illinois, who don’t pay a cent in property tax, in line with a report.

The cause: Duckworth and the opposite zero-tax owners make the most of varied exemptions that the Illinois General Assembly has made doable over time, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

But critics say all these exemptions make too many individuals eligible to pay no tax, thus growing the burden on those that fail to qualify for breaks, in line with the report.

“What we have done is to create all special sorts of categories – veterans, disabled people, senior citizens – and all of those exemptions administered by the county basically undermine the integrity of the property tax system,” Laurence Msall, president of Chicago tax watchdog group the Civic Federation, advised the Sun-Times.

“We grant people relief regardless of their income situation, and the rest of the community has to pay more,” Msall continued. “It’s unfair, it’s very hard to monitor and it’s hard to authenticate who’s getting the value. Is it the needy people, or is it a large giveaway?”

“We grant people relief regardless of their income situation, and the rest of the community has to pay more. It’s unfair.”

— Laurence Msall, tax watchdog

Regardless of revenue

In Duckworth’s case, the 53-year-old U.S. senator pays zero in property taxes as a result of she is a disabled U.S. navy veteran with a 70% or greater incapacity ranking, as decided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

She and different equally disabled veterans in Cook County who personal properties get the tax break no matter their revenue degree, the Sun-Times reported.

Duckworth misplaced each of her legs and a few use of her proper arm after the helicopter she was piloting was hit by a rocket-fired grenade in Iraq in 2004. 

She and her husband haven’t paid property taxes in Illinois since 2015, saving greater than $42,000 by way of exemptions over that point, in line with the newspaper. The couple personal a three-bedroom house in Hoffman Estates, Cook County, valued at about $250,000, the report stated. 

Second house in Virginia

The senator and husband Bryan Bowlsbey additionally personal a six-bedroom, $1.3 million house in Virginia, the place they have been billed greater than $16,000 in taxes this yr, in line with the report. Virginia provides an exemption for disabled vets that’s much like the one in Cook County, Illinois, however Duckworth and her husband don’t qualify as a result of their Virginia house shouldn’t be their major residence, in line with the Sun-Times.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is seen Jan. 3, 2017.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is seen Jan. 3, 2017.

Duckworth receives an annual wage of $174,000 and she or he earned royalties totaling greater than $300,000 in each 2019 and 2020 from a guide that she wrote, the report stated. The revenue of her husband, who works in cybersecurity, was unclear.

The senator is eligible for the tax break in Illinois till she dies, and if her husband survives her, he might be eligible for the exemption except he remarries, the Sun-Times reported.

Duckworth declined the Sun-Times’ requests to be interviewed for its story, however she responded when a reporter confronted her about her tax break throughout a public look on Friday.

“I’m surprised that someone would question veterans who have been wounded in service to their nation in a combat zone accessing benefits,” Duckworth responded, according to the Sun-Times.

A spokesman for Duckworth stated the senator will get the identical profit that any veteran who was equally disabled would obtain.

“Sen. Duckworth has always believed that everyone should pay their fair share in taxes and that those who served this nation in uniform deserve and should claim the benefits they earned,” spokesman Ben Garmisa stated, in line with the report.