Review of Chicago, Illinois

Considering a move to Chicago? Read this....
Star Rating - 5/14/2020
We moved here from Colorado back in 2013 and want to move out ASAP. This is definitely not the place to live and raise a family. I have five facts that must be considered before moving to the Chicago area. 1. You must accept that if you plan on buying a house (i.e. avg $250000 - $300000) you will pay approx $7000 - $10000 in property taxes minimum (I say minimum because there are homeowners here (that have a house around that value) who pay more). 2. You must accept you will pay the highest sales taxes in the nation (i.e. sales tax is up to 11% in most areas). 3. Our not so wonderful governor just passed the highest gasoline tax in the nation and how it is .38c per gallon (i.e. it is a progressive tax so each year it will raise). 4. Our not so wonderful governor just passed the highest auto registration fees in the nation (i.e. $151 per passenger vehicle). 5. Chicago politics run the state.

Chicago is great if you do not mind the five facts I explained. Granted, there are things to do downtown but if you live near any city, you can find stuff to do. That is a given no matter which city you live in/near. I did not even get into the other dirty political facts about this state. You will have to do your own research and decide if this is the place you want to settle down in. Think and choose wisely.
Robert | Orland Park, IL
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8 Replies

Good point and these overall views will ultimately display through property values, which I predict will tank and go down. High taxes fund corruption, end of story. A lot of people here are stuck in their own bubble to think about their future. If you have a 2-3 bedroom apartment and 25,000 per year property taxes, how can one practically retire here yet be forced to move. There is practically no exemption for owner occupied. If we are paying that much in taxes, don't you think the city could pick up trash twice a week to help limit the rat problem? I see rats on average of 5+ per day, its sickening. Everytime it rains the street floods, and with street parking the streets NEVER get cleaned. There needs to be code standards on new builds, there is not enough room for parking and new builds should follow stricter codes on building to prevent this being the norm. There is a dine in tax and 11% tax is not fun, anyway I just tip less now so it evens out, but that is ridiclous to come to that point. With Covid, I spend very little money in the city, so that is not much of a problem anymore. I did my research prior to moving here and had a somewhat higher expectation that my tax dollars would provide better services, rather it seems to be the opposite. Its a beautiful city, the lakefront is beautiful, but its demise will come from its own people bringing in liberal democrats who do nothing but raise taxes and drive out the money. You'll see...
Matthew | Chicago, IL | Report Abuse

So Chicago is one of the top major cities in the US. Cities are expensive. Especially northern cities. Did you not do any research before moving? Like at all? While yes, the sales tax is 2.15% higher than NYC and Long Island (the suburb outside NYC where the Hamptons are located), the average price of a house in Chicago is in the low 200K and the average price of a house on LI is 500K. I've only ever seen a few houses around 200K here and they were destroyed zombie homes in the hood with all the windows and copper piping missing. The average listing price in NYC is between 575-750K. And on LI my parents pay 15K a year for a 4000 sq ft house on less than an acre and it's not even by the water. My friends mom owns a 1.2 million dollar house by the water on an acre and I think their property is close to 30K a year. If you don't want to live somewhere expensive go to Memphis or Virginia Beach. Dont go to NYC, Chicago or Boston.
Chloe | East Patchogue, NY | Report Abuse

You’re also from Colorado. Property values in the Chicago dwarf those in most of the desirable parts of Colorado. I moved back here from Washington. Yes. The property taxes are criminal, but the same property I own here is valued at $600,000 and I had a smaller place out west that was over $1,000,000. Making a bank rich through a fat mortgage isn’t exactly a better solution.
D | Chicago, IL | Report Abuse

Orland Park is to Chicago what Milwaukee is to Chicago. The 5 facts you mentioned were facts before you made your move. Chicago has always had high taxes, expensive real estate and corrupt politics. It's a first rate city with all the problems of any great city it's size. Clearly, it wasn't the right move for you in the first place, and sounds like you yourself didn't do adequate enough research before you moved.
eliina | Florence, WI | Report Abuse

I hate Chicago & IL too but you’re review isn’t accurate. First off as mentioned below Orland Park is not Chicago it’s a far southwest suburb of strip malls & tract housing, some say upscale but really how upscale can a bunch of look alike houses built on cornfields be. You moved from CO which has higher vehicle registration fees than IL. Actually IL has relatively cheap vehicle registration. The gas tax needed to be raised progressively a long time ago, the last increase was 1992. The gas tax in IL is similar to other states that aren’t oil producing states. I don’t want to defend IL or the people that live there. It’s a state that is corrupt to its core & by design. Both political parties have created this system & neither has made an effort to reform it. I live by many ex-chicago people & they all complain about how horrible it was yet none ever did anything about it. The motto for IL should be “Get mine then leave”.
Eric | Aurora, CO | Report Abuse

Orland Park is a good hour away from Chicago. You knew the taxes before you moved. You lived in Orland Park and complain about gasoline tax?When you can fill up in Joliet or some small suburb town that is CLOSER than Chicago, and you have I-80, right there.. $151 registration fee for cars....Boohoo it's likes $35 higher than the middle of nowhere. Chicago carries the State, so yeah there would be influence. We have the busiest Airport in the Country. We have the 3rd largest population. Drive 45 miles south and talk to the farmers, I know plenty, they aren't regulated to death because of Chicago politics.
Jose | Chicago, IL | Report Abuse

Considering one does not need to have a car to live in Chicago, your argument is a moot point. Your personal decision to own a vehicle and live an hour from the city has nothing to do with the city.
Jesse | Chicago, IL | Report Abuse

The people disagreeing with these statements because this man is from Orland are clearly looking for reasons to not believe what is going on here. I am from Tinley, so another south suburb. If you want to void my opinion strictly based on that fact then fine. But let's not pretend everything does not begin with Chicago. Chicago is one of the largest cities in the county and effects the communities (and country) around it. Many state policies are heavily influenced by this city and I think it is fair to assess what is going on from 28 miles away and give this perspective. Our taxes have absolutely crippled this state. Property values have never recovered from the crash because you essentially pay a second mortgage on your house in taxes. Imagine owning a $250,000 home and having to pay $625 a month (~$7,500/year) just in tax. This is why housing costs appear to be lower than other major cities, but you pay for it on the back end and that money disappears. This means you're not gaining the same kind of equity as you would while paying the a higher principle with lower tax elsewhere. While the property tax is one of the worst things about here, it wouldn't kill the state on it's own. But couple this with a now 4.95% state income tax (tiered system voted down in November), a state sales tax of 6.25% (which is the base and counties impose more), gasoline that is just a bit higher than national average, a payroll tax of 4.95% and now a marijuana tax of 39% (depending on THC%). Some people in New York and other highly taxed states (which people are also fleeing) would argue these rates are not that bad. But once you look at average salary you will quickly see disparities. This has affected the state in several ways. For one, we are seeing tens of thousands of people leave (pre-covid) even though housing has been flat. Rent is high (compared to value) because the owner has to cover the high taxes in addition to everything else. Indiana has a "Grass is Greener" initiative to entice Illinois residents due to their lower taxes and cost of living. Businesses no longer see Illinois as an enticing option and are instead choosing other states (Texas, Nevada, Florida, Tennessee, Utah, Colorado just to name a few) to invest. The roads are not great. Also, the toll system in this state was supposed to only be temporary when it was installed, and was promised to be gone. Instead, it has been expanded. All of this tax money seems to disappear and many people inside the city AND outside wonder why they are not seeing any improvement in their communities after paying so much. School performance has been on a downward trajectory for roughly 20 years. To be fair, Illinois still has one of the higher ranked K-12 systems in the country. Other states definitely have it worse. But just to comment on the current state of this particular state... Public schools can range from disaster to very nice. Many public schools in the suburbs are very good. The private schools are excellent but can cost as much as college. The public school I went to had a number of AP programs available, sports teams which a moderate athlete could participate in, was clean, in a safe neighborhood, offered auto mechanics and other trade skills, diverse and close to home. All of that being said. The school systems have since adopted a "just get them through" mentality in which the bare minimum is done to get everyone to standard, and when the standard is not met, it is lowered so the children can continue. I firmly believe this is not the only area in the country where this has happened, but this is where I have personally witnessed it. This is not universal across the state, where some pockets of actual learning and cultivation do exist, but it is the vast majority. Illinois also does not believe you, as an American, have a Constitutional right to own a firearm. You need to receive their permission first. Even with this law, Chicago consistently has some of the highest rates of gun violence in the country. The crime and violence has trickled out of the city and into the suburbs a little over the last 20 years, but I'm not sure you can name a major city where this has not happened. There are still many safe cities to live. The weather is wonderful if you like all 4 seasons. You will experience all of them here. It's a little too cold for my taste for I know many places that are way worse. The winter can be a bit gloomy, so not the 'sunny winter' others may experience coming from a place like Colorado. You will get snow. Some years more than others. The average is 36 inches over the winter and that can go all the way up into the 80-inch range at it's most extreme. When you're in the city you can expect it to be a few degrees cooler due to the lakefront. And yes, the city can be a bit windy. Though that's not why they call it the Windy City, which leads me to my next point. Politically, you are probably going to be frustrated. I don't care who you are, these people are really going to frustrate you at some point. That being said, if you consider yourself moderate or lean right in 2020, you will be frustrated more frequently. It is no secret that people in other states are openly mocking Lori Lightfoot and her handling of the events of 2020. Kim Foxx and her handling of the Jussie Smollett case. I've spoken about how high property tax is. It is so high that Governor Pritzker had toilets removed from his mansion during his tax assessment to lower his personal tax bill. The politicians change here, but the corruption always remains. I would argue that the political corruption in this city is the worst in the country (outside of DC) and there are records and convictions spanning decades to prove it. This is why the tax situation is such a problem here. People slowly getting robbed. The sports here are some of the best in the country. We have NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB x2, , I grew up here and this will always be my home. It is sad that I cannot justify staying, even though I would like that. There are some great areas to live here. A lot of hard-working people who really want what is best for their families and the people around them. Unfortunately I'm not sure how much longer the city can sustain with so many people leaving, the lowest credit rating of any state and a sky-high deficit that keeps climbing. There is no plan being put into place. The far-left is saying ridiculous things like "The North side needs to fund the South side". The left are trying to ride all of this out to get their pension money that is the largest cost the state has. The right are out in the suburbs and central areas wondering when taxes will stop increasing. And the far right are either keeping quiet, non-existent or are too busy in their meth labs down in the middle of the state to care about what is going on. But regardless of all of that, no one seems to have a viable path forward. I grew up in Illinois and was in the military for 7 years working for the NSA in the DMV area as well as Florida and Georgia. Since I have lived in Austin and Vegas. Everywhere has their own set of problems. Chicago is absolutely beautiful to look at and has some of the best food you will ever eat. The suburbs offer a great mix of city-small town vibes. Unfortunately, policies that have been put into place have made it unwise to invest in.
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