Illinois REALTORS® will be working this fall to oppose several municipal referenda, involving Home Rule and the Real Estate Transfer Tax.

Michael Scobeyby Mike Scobey, Illinois REALTORS®
Senior Director of Local Advocacy & Global Programs

Home Rule is being sought in four referenda which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. These municipalities are: Prospect Heights (Cook County), Winthrop Harbor, Beach Park and Zion (Lake County).

While Home Rule gives municipalities more local autonomy, when home rule powers are misused, it can negatively impact real estate and private property owners. Illinois REALTORS® is the only advocate for private property rights at the State Capitol in Springfield and in city and village halls across Illinois. That is why we want to educate the community about the unintended consequences of home rule.

Why does Illinois REALTORS® oppose Home Rule? We have seen abuses of home rule power in some municipalities.

  • We oppose the increased debt for local governments that home rule allows.
  • We oppose higher property taxes without voter approval that comes with home rule.
  • We oppose the additional regulations, red tape and fees on real estate transactions that home rule authority allows.
  • We oppose possible new and excessive Inspections and fees which home rule authority can impose.

Two Home Rule municipalities will be seeing a Transfer Tax Referendum this fall. The City of Evanston is proposing to increase its existing transfer tax from the current rate of $5 per thousand to $7 per thousand for properties with purchase prices over $1.5 million and up to $5 million. Properties over $5 million will have a rate of $9 per thousand. This will increase the cost of doing business in Evanston and harm prospects for economic development.

This kind of graduated transfer tax would be the first of its kind in Illinois.  Illinois REALTORS® will oppose this measure.

Also, being opposed by Illinois REALTORS® is a first-time transfer tax in the Village of Bannockburn. The Village is seeking a $1 per thousand transfer tax on all property transfers and the liability would be on the buyer.