This project has been almost entirely a database driven story using off the shelf products such as PostgreSQL and SQL queries, with the presentation produced using CartoDB and some web markup.
Using property records for Champaign County, this story looks at how a loosely written state law allows property owners to claim more than one property as owner occupied.
My contribution to the project began with a simple database query on my own home, in which I noticed that the landlord was claiming a homeowner’s exemption on the house.
The curiosity of this situation led to further inquiries, and the investigative team found that the landlords are all behaving within the law, though the law as it is written is left up to the interpretation of the county supervisor of assessments.
The team further found that the tax assessor was interpreting the law differently then every other county in the state and in a way that generously favored landlords, leading to millions in lost local tax revenue.