City Council Votes to Pass Mayor Emanuel's 2017 Budget, Including Bag Tax, Parking-Rate Hikes

The Chicago City Council voted to pass Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2017 budget Wednesday, making living in the city even more costly.

Only a few aldermen were expected to oppose the $8.2 billion budget, which includes a plan to bolster the police force by 529 officers, but also increases parking rates across the city and imposes a new bag fee for Chicago shoppers.

That means each time a store is visited without bringing a reusable paper or plastic bag, people will be charged an additional seven cents for each bag needed to pack their goods. 

The 7 cents-a-bag fee was a compromise decided on when Mayor Emanuel agreed to lift the plastic bag ban in the city. It’s expected to generate roughly $13 million a year, with the city receiving about $9.2 million and the additional amount going to store merchants.

Buying tickets to sporting events or shows like “Hamilton” will also get more expensive. Emanuel’s new budget plan includes a 3.5 percent amusement tax to be added on the full price of such items. Currently, customers are only taxed on the markup.   

Other items on the mayor’s 2017 agenda include the creation of hundreds of new parking meter spaces downtown, as well as an increase to current parking costs.  

Near Wrigley Field, parking meter costs will spike up to $4 per hour, with rates for loading zones rising up to $14 per hour. Costs to park at both Chicago airports will also rise dramatically under Emanuel’s 2017 proposal. 

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