Cook County nursing home officials warn of layoffs if tax system not addressed

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(The Center Square) – Nursing home officials in Cook County are seeking changes to how their facilities are taxed and are warning of layoffs and potential closures if changes are not made.

A bill at the Illinois statehouse would have reduced the tax rate on nursing homes from 25% of their market value to 10% but was vetoed by Pritzker over fears of raising property taxes on residents of Cook County.

The state legislature can override the veto, causing the bill to become law, if they vote and receive a three-fifths majority. The measure passed the Senate in May unanimously. In the House on concurrence, the measure passed with 95 yes votes, zero no votes and two voting present, a veto-proof majority.

Ron Nunziato of the Health Care Council of Illinois explained why Cook County nursing home facilities are classified differently than the other 101 Illinois counties.

“They claimed the majority of residents in the skilled nursing facilities are there for short-term rehab and then go home,” Nunziato told The Center Square. “That is simply not true.”

Nunziato said the facilities will have to cut costs if the veto is not overridden.

“Some of these facilities are at a point where they will have to decide what to do with their operation,” Nunziato said. “There may be layoffs of clinical and non-clinical staff, or there may be closures.”

If closed, patients will be forced to find a different facility, he said.

“Some of those south suburban districts that are affected only have one facility in their community,” Nunziato said. “That means those people are going to have to move to a different facility.”

The measure could be addressed when lawmakers return for the final three days of veto session beginning Nov. 7.

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