Rauner bans lawmakers from representing clients before property - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Rauner bans lawmakers from representing clients before property tax board

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SPRINGFIELD -- Calling it "a clear conflict of interest that must end," Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an executive order prohibiting state legislators from representing clients before the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.

It's a move that will target the main source of income for Speaker Mike Madigan, although Rauner did not mention Madigan when announcing the executive order.

The property tax appeal board hears appeals of assessment decisions made in Illinois' 102 counties.

"We have a deeply flawed and overly complicated property-tax system that recent investigations have shown results in inequitable, disproportionately high property-tax burdens on low-income residents — not to mention our property taxes overall are simply too high," Rauner said. "For any legislator to profit from this system undercuts the public's faith that they are in office to do what's best for their constituents. Legislators who make money representing clients who are appealing their property-tax assessments have little incentive to do what's right when it comes to property-tax reform."

Rauner continued, "Frankly, they have everything to gain from the status quo. The action I'm taking today marks the beginning of the end of a dubious era."

The Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board hears about 30,000 appeals a year, most from Cook County.

The order also prohibits legislators from receiving any fee or compensation, directly or indirectly, through any interest in a partnership, limited liability corporation or other business entity representing clients before the property tax appeal board.
"Conflicts of interest clearly arise where legislators and regulators receive financial benefits by charging Illinois citizens and businesses through a morass of red tape those same officials created by passing complicated rules and establishing confusing and bureaucratic processes," the executive order states.

"Illinoisans are tired of a rigged system that allows lawmakers to profit at their expense," Rauner said. "I'm here to fight on their behalf."

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