Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm Makes Tax Promise For 2013

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he doesn't plan on raising residents' taxes next year but a hike in the cigarette tax could be on the table.

    Ahead of his October budget address, Mayor Rahm Emanuel made it crystal clear Tuesday he doesn't plan on raising residents' taxes next year.

    "There will be no property tax increase, there will be no sales tax increase, there will be no fuel tax increase," Emanuel told reporters at an unrelated news conference. "We're eliminating the per-employee head tax ... we're doing it ahead of schedule, and there will be no amusement tax increase."

    And that rumored cigarette tax? "If we do consider a cigarette tax," he said, "it has to invest in children's health."

    That's good news, especially as the city figures out how to pay for a new teacher contract.

    Last year around this time, some aldermen were banding together and standing up to the mayor's proposed budget that included funding cuts for libraries, reductions to graffiti removal crews and cuts of $10 million to public safety operations at the city's 911 call center.

    Emanuel compromised, restoring $4.3 million in originally proposed cuts to the $6.3 million budget, and though he held back on property tax hikes, the council approved a list of increased fines and fees.

    "Thanks for an honest budget," he said last October, adding that the budget will lead to a "bright future" for the city.

    Meanwhile, the Chicago Public Schools board voted last August to raise its property tax rate to the highest allowable cap, or $28 per year for an owner of a $250,000 household, to squeeze out an additional $62 million to the district's cash flow.

    Will it happen again?

    "We have other tough things to do," Emanuel told reporters last week when asked how Chicago plans to finance the teachers' contract. "I never denied that we did have tough things to do, but I can't sit here and say within the first five minutes of this contract being negotiated, that I could tell you exactly what's going to happen four or five months from now."

    At least for now, that doesn't mean higher taxes coming from him.