Uber Urges Riders to Fight City Hall In Hopes of Blocking Lightfoot's Proposed Tax Hike - NBC Chicago

Uber Urges Riders to Fight City Hall In Hopes of Blocking Lightfoot's Proposed Tax Hike

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Lightfoot, Rideshare Companies Spar Over Proposed Tax

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot shot down an alternative to her rideshare tax: a congestion fee suggested by Uber, and she went a step further, accusing Uber of offering to pay black ministers to support the company's alternative plan. NBC 5's Kye Martin breaks it all down. 

    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019)

    Uber is trying out a new tool when lobbying against higher rideshare taxes in Chicago – and that tool could be you.

    The company is putting a call out to its downtown area customers to join the cause via a direct email plea that appears with the receipt, asking riders to ‘Lobby Or Tweet’ City Hall against a proposed fee hike in 2020 on ride-hailing downtown.

    “The taxes (are) already pretty high here, I mean what’s the sales tax 10 percent, I mean more taxes? I don’t know,” said resident Mike Szewczyk.

    To generate $40 million, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants a downtown rideshare flat fee of $3 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., even an ‘Uber Pool’ option would cost 60 cents more.

    “I live and work (in) downtown so I’m usually just walking around but I can imagine it would be pretty frustrating for people,” said another resident, Jennifer Crespo.

    A mayoral aide says the fee could cut congestion and Lightfoot pledged a couple million dollars from the program to the CTA.

    The focus is now on the digital marketing impact toward Chicago’s alderman. The city council will have to either approve or disapprove of Lightfoot’s budget.

    Uber issued a statement Wednesday saying, “After months of conversations with the Mayor’s office, we are making public our plan to raise the money the City needs in a way that is more equitable and doesn’t increase fees on South and West side residents by nearly 80%. The Mayor’s statement today is not accurate.”

    The company's spokeswoman Kelley Quinn also said in a statement, “The Mayor is entitled to her own opinion, but not her own facts. Weeks ago, we shared a proposal that would have raised $54 million more for the city - she is confusing this figure. For months, we worked on a proposal that would have raised more money for the city in a more equitable way.”

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