Preckwinkle Proposes County Tax on Bowling, Cable TV

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In an effort to increase pension payments, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposed a series of new taxes Wednesday to be included in the county's 3 percent amusement tax.

Recreational activities, such as bowling and golfing, as well as cable TV fall under Preckwinkle's new proposal, which was drafted after her office looked for "loopholes and inconsistencies" in existing revenue sources.

In total, Preckwinkle proposed to add three new categories to the amusement tax: participatory amusement (bowling, golf, etc.), the margin collected by ticket re-sellers and in-home amusement (cable TV). The extra taxes are expected to generate $20 million next year, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The three categories are already included in city of Chicago taxes, but they are not yet included in county taxes, Preckwinkle noted.

The added tax for cable TV will cost the average household an extra $100 a year, according to Comcast, who released a statement deriding the proposal.

"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."

In her announcement Wednesday, Preckwinkle also proposed an amendment to the tobacco tax to include e-cigarettes and e-vapor products.

Along with the added taxes, Preckwinkle announced the county will cut 287 jobs, most of which are vacant position. Fifty-one of those reductions, however, are layoffs.

Just a few months ago, Cook County commissioners also approved a proposal by Preckwinkle to raise the county sales by 1 percent, making Chicago's sales tax rate the highest in the nation. The increase is expected to generate $308 million in 2016 and $473.8 million, according to Preckwinkle.

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