Ward Room
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County Changes Lollapalooza Tax Exemption Rules

Chicago's biggest music fest will need to ask its waiver this year

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After seven years of being exempt from Cook County's amusement tax, Chicago's biggest music fest will need to ask for its waiver this year.

The Cook County Board on Wednesday agreed to require Lollapalooza organizers, as well as organizers for other big events, to approach the board for approval.

Per a deal struck in 2005, the music fest drawing some 160,000 people annually to Grant Park was exempt from Chicago and Cook County amusement taxes, saving promoters C3 Presents LLC hundreds of thousands of dollars last year.

The festival got its 2011 waiver from the city's 1.5 percent tax in the final days of the Daley administration.

The new county measure requires events making more than $150,000 in tax revenue to ask the board for an exemption.

In the past Lollapalooza received a waiver because C3 Presents plans the festival with the Parkways Foundation, the Chicago Park District's non-profit fund raising organization, and Parkway receives a maximum 10.25 percent of the festival's revenue.

Lollapalooza's exemption of the Chicago amusement tax remains, though Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office told the Chicago Tribune the mayor will create an independent group to review promoters' 2012 application. 

Emanuel's brother Ari has financial ties to C3.

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