Proponents of property-tax hikes in Chicago say the city’s property taxes are low and residents can afford to pay more.
What they fail to mention is that, compared to other major cities across the U.S., Chicago’s property taxes are 10th highest for residential properties and the third highest for commercial properties.
Tax-hike proponents have also failed to acknowledge the multitude of other local taxes that already make Chicagoans the most-taxed residents of any major city in Illinois.
Though Mayor Rahm Emanuel is crying poor, but the city’s budget shows Chicago has never had more money to spend. In fact, the city has over $1 billion in additional revenue today when compared to what it would have if Chicago’s revenue had grown at the rate of inflation over the past 20 years.
Chicago relies heavily on myriad taxes and fees. One of the most painful for residents is the city’s sales tax, which is slated to become the highest in the nation on Jan. 1, 2016, when the rate jumps to 10.25% from 9.25%.
In addition to the city’s burdensome sales tax, Chicagoans face more than 30 additional taxes and fees. Here are some of the most egregious examples:
Before the Chicago City Council votes to raise taxes even higher than they are today, it must address the imbalance in the city’s fiscal situation by focusing on the other side of the ledger. The City Council must find ways to reduce expenditures and reform the way Chicago operates. Moving new city workers into 401(k)-style retirement plans and opening up city contracts to find additional reforms is a vital first step in that process.
Ultimately, the city needs to look for ways to deliver governmental services more efficiently and to reduce the tax burden on its residents.
Ted Dabrowski
Vice President of Policy