Illinois homeowners could get $500 checks this year under a provision of Gov. Pat Quinn's state budget that he says will ease the burden of an unfair property tax system. However, the refund plan comes as the Chicago Democrat wants to make Illinois' temporary income tax increase permanent in the same proposed budget and he faces a fierce re-election challenge from Republican businessman Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur). The plan has come under scrutiny from Republicans who say it costs too much and some homeowners who say they'll lose money. Still, Quinn says most homeowners will benefit from the ``historic'' property tax relief. Currently, Illinois homeowners get a tax credit. The new refund would replace that if lawmakers approve the plan soon. Homeowners could start getting checks as soon as this year.
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