Area of Work: Tax Policy

Client: Cook County Assessors’ Office

Years of Involvement: 2004 – 2007

Challenge:

To build a base for and pass legislation providing property tax relief at a time when the bill was dead in Springfield and there was little public awareness of the issue, in a limited four-month time frame.

Approach:

Creating an integrated community outreach and media awareness campaign that both educated the public about the need for property tax reform and built support for the stalled legislation, empowering citizens to make the case for change and communicating their support to state legislators

Activities (select):

  • Building a coalition of 80 neighborhood groups from every part of Chicago (Citizens United for Tax Reform) and elected officials from throughout the area
  • Creating a visibility campaign, “Home Owner Faced with Extinction: Pass SB1498,” that resulted in 10,000 signs being displayed on lawns throughout Chicago and Cook County
  • Generating editorial board support and articles from the area media
  • Generating radio/television talk show appearances for public officials and Coalition members
  • Creation of an internet-based communications system for all involved
  • Creation of fact sheets, brochures and other materials
  • Holding of a speak-out that attracted hundreds of citizens
  • Holding of rallies, community meetings and press conferences

Accomplishments (select):

  • Bills accomplishing the reform have been passed by both houses of the Illinois State Legislature, and were renewed in 2007
  • The creation of a permanent coalition of citizens’ groups on tax reform