The Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption law has been signed by Governor Pat Quinn. State Representative Dan Beiser of Alton sponsored the measure. It allows victims of natural disasters rebuild their homes and their lives by allowing them to apply for a property tax exemption that is equal to value of their homes before the disaster occurred.
Beiser says the need for new legislation became apparent after the recent Harrisburg Tornado, but could also be useful if the region experiences another flood like the one that shut down parts of the Midwest in 1993.
There are a couple of provisions for homeowners. The home that is the subject of the exemption must be rebuilt within two years after the date of the natural disaster; and the square footage of the rebuilt home cannot be any larger than 110 percent of the square footage of the original home, prior to the natural disaster.