New study on tax system fuels heated Cook County Assessor's race

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A new study about the cost of an unfair tax system is adding fuel to the heated Cook County Assessor's race. (WLS)

A third candidate is now back on the ballot in the bid to unseat Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios. It's shaping up to be one of most closely-watched races in next week's primary election - and a new study about the cost of an unfair tax system is adding fuel to this heated race.

Fritz Kaegi and Andrea Railia hope to unseat Democratic machine politician Joe Berrios as Cook County Assessor. Both candidates have focused on a flawed assessment system under Berrios. And while several studies have concluded that lower-valued homes are taxed at a higher rate than higher ones, a new University of Chicago study by Professor Chris Berry puts a price tag to the inequity.

"What I found is there's been about $2.2 billion shifted from people who are undertaxed on to people who were overtaxed from 2011-2015, years we had data," Berry said.

"That detail is one more piece of evidence in a really compelling mountain of evidence that we have a system that's very unfair, especially in the black and brown communities," Kaegi said.

Berrios denied our request for an interview. However, through a statement, the assessor's office writes in part, "We are saddened by Professor Berry's lack of professionalism in releasing this report four days before the election and not giving us an opportunity to review it."

Berry denies politics played a role in the study's release.

"Whether we are a week, month or a year away from an election, I don't think there is ever a wrong time to speak the truth. The study speaks for itself," Berry said.

Raila hopes the study gives her campaign a much-needed boost following an appellate court ruling in her favor, the 57-year-old is back on the ballot after being knocked off for alleged fraudulent petitions.

"Unfortunately, it did suppress the vote and I don't want to see any other candidate have this happen to them, we need ballot democracy," Raila said.

Because she was considered off the ballot during several days of early voting, Raila went to court Friday to ask a judge for a remedy. She wanted the court to place a one-day ad in the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times stating Raila is back on the ballot and a vote for her will count. A judge denied her request.
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politicscook countyproperty taxeselectionChicagoLoop
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