* Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he’s against this tax hike idea proposed by the Chicago Inspector General, but that hasn’t stopped the fear mongering…
Chicago officials this week tossed around the idea of a commuter tax — charging suburbanites who work in the city of Chicago a 1 percent income tax — as a way to bring in additional revenue.
The idea was one of a list of potential cost cuts and money makers compiled by the city’s Inspector General Joe Ferguson that could reduce a budget shortfall.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ruled out tax hikes for now, but some aldermen favored the commuter tax notion.
The idea didn’t sit well with commuters, however, nor potential commuters.
Andrea Laue of Mokena, who has been commuting to Chicago for 15 years for work, said she thinks the income tax idea is “absolutely ridiculous.”
“Since I work in the city, I am already buying food and drinks, retail items, and eating out at restaurants, and paying the higher city and county taxes that are imposed on most of these items. By working in the city, I am already generating revenue for the city, and now they want to penalize me for it,” Laue said. “This on top of Metra talking about raising the cost of train tickets. I’m not going to be able to afford to work downtown anymore!”
Not gonna happen. Period. End of story. Stop frightening people, for Pete’s sake.
* And after increasing the income tax and voting to raise electricity rates, how much chance does this tax idea have in Springfield? Slim to none…
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is floating a unique plan to help solve the city’s budget problems. He is pushing a proposal to lower the sales tax, but the mayor also wants to increase the number of items and services that are taxed.
Under the mayor’s proposal, everyone from barbers to lawyers will have to pay the sales tax.
“I’m not for a toll on Lake Shore Drive, I am not for a citywide income tax, I’m not for increasing property taxes, I’m not for increasing sales tax,” he said. […]
Any change in the sales tax formula would require approval by the Illinois General Assembly and the governor’s signature. The mayor revealed Wednesday morning that part of the process is already in motion.
“I have advocated and I’ve talked to the speaker and Senate president about lowering the sales tax by expanding what is, in fact, taxed,” Emanuel.
First of all, even if they do a service tax, it won’t include barbers. They’ve killed just about every attempt to tax their services in the history of the republic. No way will that happen. Also, this…
…it’s one of those ideas that’s been kicking around the State Capitol literally for decades. But it’s gone nowhere. Retail store owners dream that the rate affecting them might actually go down, making them more competitive with Indiana. But a man who represents 23,000 stores across Illinois is skeptical.
“Mayor Emanuel’s been very successful in his first 140 days in office. But I’ve been around here a long time. People have talked about broadening the base for the 35 or so years I’ve been around. And it’s not gotten done yet,” said David Vite of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.
And then there’s this bit of passive aggressiveness…
A spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton confirmed Cullerton did speak with the mayor and supports the concept of reducing but expanding the sales tax. In fact, a similar bill actually passed the Senate two years ago, but was never called in the House.
Emanuel would have to use all of his chits for a very long time to get this passed. Don’t bet on it.
* And check out the Chicago Tribune editorial today. No over the top tea partyesque ravings, no threats of massive retaliation, just a fairly reasonable editorial about the Inspector General’s revenue ideas…
Give [Inspector General Joe Ferguson] credit for serving up a pile of options. And give the mayor and aldermen credit, this time, for not rejecting them out of hand. Last year, departing Mayor Richard Daley conjured up a package of cheap fixes that he knew would leave a mess for the next mayor, and the City Council let him get away with it. Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke, 14th, dismissed Ferguson’s suggestions then as “nothing new.” Daley’s better ideas included raiding the rainy-day fund and declaring a TIF surplus. A complete punt.
But this time it looks like aldermen are listening. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has vowed spending discipline and an end to the one-time gimmicks. Emanuel said Wednesday he’s against tolls on Lake Shore Drive, but he backed some of Ferguson’s cost-saving ideas. He also revived his campaign idea to lower the city’s sales tax rate and broaden the base on which the tax is collected. Ferguson included it in his idea menu.
So … tolls on Lake Shore Drive? Nobody seems to like that one. That’s fine. But Ferguson has offered plenty of other ideas. Emanuel is cooking up plenty of his own. Anybody else? Speak up.
Just imagine what that editorial would read like if somebody close to Gov. Pat Quinn had proposed these ideas. Oh, the humanity.
It would be nice if we could get reasonable editorials like this on everything, but I’m not holding my breath.