Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm Emanuel's $250 Million Property Tax Hike: Got a Less Painful Proposal?

City aldermen are scrambling to find alternatives to the Mayor's controversial pitch

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Chicago aldermen are scrambling for less agonizing alternatives to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to raise property taxes by $250 million in order to cushion two underfunded pensions for city employees.

Adding to their worries: the ominous question mark of how to address the state-mandated $600 million in separate pension payments to be delivered to city firemen and police officers next year.

While Emanuel awaits aldermens' approval of his pitch, some in City Hall have proposed additional strategies to boost revenue and deal with the growing pension crisis. Among them: 

--A monthly garbage collection fee

--A city tax on high-end services from lawyers, landscapers and computer professionals, but not hairdressers

--A traffic congestion fee similar to that in London, charging motorists who drive through the Loop during peak business hours

--A suburban commuter tax

Earlier this month, Emanuel, who has indicated he will stick with his "balanced, measured and responsible" strategy, said: "Other people have ideas. One that I reject is the idea of a city income tax. I think that’s not the right way to go."

Which begs the question: What is the right way to go? A property tax hike? A tax on your next Mario Tricoci hair color appointment? A fee for commuting from the 'burbs? A casino?

Share your ideas and sound off in the comments.

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