NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

HOW MUCH MORE CAN CHICAGO TAKE?

October 18, 2007

Cook County (Chicago area) Board President Todd Stroger admits he wants more tax dollars than he really needs to operate his government every year.   But, he argues, it's more fiscally responsible to ask for more now, so as not to have to keep coming back to ask for more year after year, says the Chicago Sun-Times.

Many commissioners and civic leaders aren't buying it.  Regardless, Stroger is pushing forward with a plan to fund the $3.2 billion county and $153 million Forest Preserve operations by:

  • Raising the Forest Preserve District's property tax share by 2.8 percent.
  • Hiking the sales tax 267 percent -- from .75 percent to 2.75 percent.
  • Increasing the gasoline tax 100 percent -- from 6 cents a gallon to 12 cents a gallon.
  • Driving up parking taxes 100 percent -- from about $20 to $40 for monthly parkers.

Stroger predicts he could repeal the gas and parking taxes in future years -- and simply rely on adding 2 percentage points to the sales tax to provide, year after year, necessary funds for county government.

But critics say a sales tax disproportionately hurts poor people, and a majority of board members have indicated they will reject such a plan.  Civic Federation President Laurence Msall said it's a sign of Stroger's "insatiable appetite for new and expensive taxes" and shows "no signs of restraint during times of great economic difficulty for many."

Source: Steve Patterson, "How much more can we take?" Chicago Sun-Times, October 18, 2007.

 

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