Lightfoot Comes Out Against Controversial Tax Proposal

There is discussion in Springfield about expanding the restaurant tax in Chicago.

The proposal would add a one-percent tax at certain restaurants and bars in the city. The money would fund a new $600 million building at McCormick Place.

Maureen Martino is with the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.

“We were told we’re not a tourism area when we applied for grant money and now all of a sudden we are a tourism area when they want money to pay for McCormick," she said. "It doesn’t make sense."

The tax currently applies to establishments downtown and nearby, on the grounds that they profit from convention business.

The proposed expanded boundary would include restaurants as far as 10 miles away from McCormick including Bridgeport, Hyde Park, and East Lakeview where Greg Scuff opened his first restaurant Dryhop Brewery.

"I don’t have any tourists coming up to this area and it just seems like they’re trying to make me less competitive," he said.

Sports stadiums like the United Center and Soldier Field with more than 20,000 seats would be excluded.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot weighed in Thursday.

"We are concerned about this proposal in its current form, specifically the exemption favoring large venue owners, whose customer base includes visitors and conventioneers, and the potential unintended consequences for small businesses in Chicago,” she said.

Residents like Larry Vient say ultimately they pay the cost.

“It's kind of a slap in the face to tack on another expense to people who are outside of downtown,” he said.

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