Perfect Storm of Taxes Heading Toward Chicago Residents

As the state continues to cut services amid the ongoing budget stalemate, Chicago residents in particular could soon be hit with a perfect storm of increased taxes from the city, state and county levels.

On Wednesday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposed a series of new taxes to be included in the county's 3 percent amusement tax. Among those added taxes are a tax on "participatory amusement," which includes sports like bowling and golf. She also proposed an added tax on cable TV, which the city of Chicago already taxes, and expanded the tobacco tax to include e-cigarettes and e-vapor products.

Back in July, Cook County commissioners also approved a proposal by Preckwinkle to raise county sales tax by 1 percent, making Chicago's sales tax the highest in the nation.

"When you find yourself in a position where you don't have the resources to do the job that needs to be done, you better figure out how to do it," Preckwinkle said during her budget proposal.

Meanwhile, at the state level, cuts in services and halted payments continue to grow. On Wednesday, the Illinois Lottery announced that anyone who wins more than $600 will not be able to get their money until there is a state budget.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger also announced Wednesday that the state will have to delay the November pension payments due to the stalemate, but retirees will still get their pay.

"Anybody who thinks that we're not already out of money doesn't understand the magnitude of the problem," Munger said. "We don't have an extra dollar to spend now, and every single day when we make our payments in the state and pay whatever bills we can, we're out of money for that day." 

In Chicago, City Council will soon take a vote on the largest property tax hike ever. In September, Emanuel proposed a $543 million property tax hike to help raise money for a pension payment for police officers and firefighters next year. The vote is scheduled for Oct. 28.

The tax hike would be implemented year by year through 2018, going up by $318 million in 2015, $109 million in 2016, $53 million in 2017 and $63 million in 2018, according to the mayor's office.

Chicago residents and other dissenters, like Comcast, have already weighed in on the many proposed tax increases.

Following Preckwinkle's announcement about her proposed cable TV tax, the company released a statement saying that the added tax would cost the average household an extra $100 per year.

"Most everyone watches TV, and for many, it provides their most consistent and reliable source of news, information and entertainment," the statement reads. "Comcast appreciates Cook County's efforts to create a responsible budget, but this increase could make it harder for many Cook County families to gain access to cable TV services."

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