Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ office released a new tool this month that allows individual property owners to look up what amount of government debt falls on them. 

Pappas said in a press release that the new methodology makes it easier to compare debt burdens between different residents of Cook County. 

Because local government debt is primarily funded by property taxes, which are in turn determined by property values, debt burdens vary between different units of local government across Cook County. And Pappas’ office said those burdens tend to be disproportionately heavier in majority-Black and Latino areas. 

“Property purchases in Cook County come with a hidden credit card balance, in the form of local government debt,” Pappas said. “Property owners end up paying down that debt, on top of also covering their mortgage, utility and maintenance costs.”

Through Pappas’ office, homeowners can now look up what percentage of local government debt is attributed to their property. Visit and use the purple box to search through your property records.

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