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*** UPDATED x1 *** Lightfoot again says she’ll have to raise property taxes unless Springfield helps

Friday, Oct 18, 2019

* Fran Spielman

Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged Friday she will have no choice but to raise property taxes — which were more than doubled by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel — if her agenda falls flat in the General Assembly’s fall veto session.

Lightfoot’s heavy-lift requests for a graduated real estate transfer tax and a casino gambling fix — either through city-state ownership of a Chicago casino or a revised tax structure — face long odds in Springfield amid a blockbuster corruption scandal that has spread from Chicago and the [west] suburbs to Springfield. […]

“It’ll be very difficult to avoid a property tax increase if we do not get help from Springfield. … There are limited tools that a mayor can use to generate substantial revenue. Property tax is really chief among them,” the mayor told the Sun-Times.

“It’s certainly my hope to avoid a large property tax increase. I’ve heard that message loud and clear — whether it’s people coming up to me on the street, our budget town halls, people who filled out the surveys. They don’t want a property tax increase. That has become a real sticking point for people. But if we don’t get those two things, our options are severely limited.”

There’s more so click here.

*** UPDATE *** Greg Hinz

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is aiming at another group to help her close a yawning city budget gap: restaurants and their customers.

A few hours after unveiling a $40 million tax on rides from Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing firms, Lightfoot’s office confirmed that she’ll also seek a $20 million new tax on restaurants.

The quarter-percentage-point levy would apply to all food and beverages sold at retail establishments. Combined with levies by other governments including Cook County and the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, the tax on restaurant bills would rise to as much as 11.75 percent.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

30 Comments
  1. - Anon y mouse - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    Well, that will not likely go over well. Her rookie status is becoming more and more apparent.


  2. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    I’m sure the folks south of I-80 are shaking in their boots. Cue the “I’ll have a hard time supporting a graduated income tax ” press release


  3. - Steve - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Now is the perfect time for adding teachers, nurses, and other staff. Dreams can’t be deferred.


  4. - @misterjayem - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    One must hope that Lightfoot’s brinkmanship style of leadership will serve her better in Springfield than it has with her city’s teachers.

    But I have my doubts.

    – MrJM


  5. - Nagidam - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    This “ask” has to be for the most part shouldered by all the legislators I see posting pictures on social media showing solidarity with the CTU strike. Your solidarity means you are all in for the costs associated with this strike. And please don’t say a progressive income tax will help pay for this. The earliest a progressive income tax could help would 2022. (Voted in 2020, enacted in 2021, 2021 taxes paid in 2022). You want the nice photo ops with the unions? Pay the piper for the support.


  6. - BR91 - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    She’s using this as a bargaining tool, errr, lack thereof, with the teachers. This is her attempt to turn the public against them one and for all. Rahm played this game, and she being surrounded by Rahm’s holdovers, she hasn’t learned.


  7. - JS Mill - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    Sounds like property taxes are going to go up in Chicago, and Lightfoot does not sound like she wants to own that but….Mayor’s own (hat tip to OW)

    Lightfoot seems to be following the Rauner Light form of governance.


  8. - BR91 - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    That was to you, Backwards Madigan.


  9. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    Why would anyone outside Chicago care if their property taxes go up? Especially if the alternative is more taxes on the people outside Chicago.


  10. - striketoo - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:06 pm:

    And yet she is willing to leave marijuana tax money on the table by prohibiting sales in the Loop.


  11. - Just Me - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    Naturally, instead of saying she’ll have to make more cuts, she says she’ll have to raise more taxes.


  12. - Steve - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    Just remember, nothing can be cut. It’s all for the children, so don’t complain.


  13. - ChrisInCHI - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:19 pm:

    “This “ask” has to be for the most part shouldered by all the legislators I see posting pictures on social media showing solidarity with the CTU strike. Your solidarity means you are all in for the costs associated with this strike. And please don’t say a progressive income tax will help pay for this. The earliest a progressive income tax could help would 2022. (Voted in 2020, enacted in 2021, 2021 taxes paid in 2022). You want the nice photo ops with the unions? Pay the piper for the support.”

    ===========

    Yeah this all the way. Either fix the problems in CPS and *pay to fix them* or don’t tell me your support is anything more than performative. This goes for both politicians and residents.


  14. - Merica - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    chicago taxpayers (all taxpayers) should get an equal state benefit related to the taxes they pay. Not 100% equal, that’s likely impossible, but within a reasonable range, like 20%. Cook County needs to stop subsidizing downstate Illinois. how this can be accomplished:
    1. IDOT should be partially responsible for CTA and Metra funding.
    2. Mass Transit districts should be charged a tax to fund CTA upgrades.
    3. Chicago school pensions should be consolidated with TRS
    4. most State employees should be moved to Chicago and collar counties (Springfield office leases are the same price as downtown chicago, so it’s actually cost neutral)


  15. - DuPage - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    Chicago property tax may seem high to homeowners in Chicago, but they are low compared to homeowners in the collar counties.


  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    Two bombshell Friday’s. What happens next Friday?


  17. - City Zen - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    ==The quarter-percentage-point levy would apply to all food and beverages sold at retail establishments.==

    There’s already a quarter-percentage-point restaurant tax. What’s another quarter-percentage-point tax among friends?


  18. - eyeball - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    The agenda of every local unit of government is to get more $ from the state and not raise local property taxes.


  19. - revvedup - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:32 pm:

    Lightfoot -could- use the accumulated TIF District money to reduce any tax hike, but amazingly she makes no mention of it. Another losing request to Springfield to bail out the City is for show, so she can tell Chicago taxpayers to blame everybody else except her.


  20. - RNUG - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:34 pm:

    There is zero empathy downstate for helping out on Chicago property taxes. A lot of downstate think Chicago property taxes are too low when compared to the home’s value.

    Unless Lightfoot is totally clueless, she has to know this is an impossible ask.

    If she is as smart a politician as some people think (the jury is still out on that), all she is doing is setting up Springfield and downstate as the scapegoat for when she raised taxes.


  21. - KJLewis - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:47 pm:

    I don’t see that the Mayor has many other options, though there may be something to this being a ploy to get people against the teachers strike. Even teachers. It was noticable how few showed up today for strike protests downtown.


  22. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    Calls for funding out of a city crawling with federal agents investigating civic corruption. Those are not exactly strong cards in the Mayors hand.


  23. - ChrisInCHI - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    “Chicago property tax may seem high to homeowners in Chicago, but they are low compared to homeowners in the collar counties.”

    =======

    Yeah seriously, though the pure dollar amounts paid by residents can tend to be higher due to higher property values. IIRC Oak Brook had the lowest rates in the metro as of a few years ago. On that same token a lot of south burb rates are ridiculous because those municipalities are just trying to stay afloat among declining housing values down there.

    Either way we’re not going to get much sympathy from other municipalities. But our local pols don’t want to have to face the prospect of residents paying Oak Park/Evanston rates without getting Oak Park/Evanston level services in return.


  24. - ChrisInCHI - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:50 pm:

    Sadly, Donnie Elgin, your post could mean any number of local municipalities this month…


  25. - don the legend - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 4:00 pm:

    Merica ==(Springfield office leases are the same price as downtown chicago, so it’s actually cost neutral)==

    Starting happy hour a little early.


  26. - sewer thoughts - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    @RNUG — “If she is as smart a politician as some people think (the jury is still out on that), all she is doing is setting up Springfield and downstate as the scapegoat for when she raised taxes.”

    I call bingo. Half of her “ask” is for a graduated real estate transfer tax, which I believe Evanston already accomplished without going to Springfield, they accomplished by going to the voters via referendum. This is a “look the other way” strategy.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 4:10 pm:

    Rahm and Daley kept property taxes too low.

    Shoulda went with the Thompson Pivot way-way earlier.

    The GA and Guv… can’t see much relief given.


  28. - Sue - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    Only thing disturbing with this is just how out of touch the public sector workforce and union leadership is from reality. Sure just raise taxes and shutup


  29. - Dybalaton - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    Rahm raised real estate taxes quite a bit. Mine went up 30% over the last few years. That’s with a relatively stable assessment too.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 4:39 pm:

    - Dybalaton -

    Rahm didn’t run for re-elect.

    Lightfoot will have to face this music.

    Shoulda Thompson pivoted.


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