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CHICAGO WILL HAVE HIGHEST SALES TAX IN U.S. - Cook County Board Approves Budget Before Midnight Deadline, Feb. 29th!

CHICAGO SALES TAX TO INCREASE TO 10.25%, SUBURBAN COOK COUNTY - 9.0% EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 2008!

In an eleventh-hour move to forestall severe cuts to city services and health care, The Cook County Board of Commissioners, led by Board President Todd Stroger, approved measures late last night that would increase the county's share of Sales Tax by 133% effective November 1st.  County wide, but outside of the City of Chicago. consumers will pay a minimum of 9.0%, up from the current 7.5% in most suburban Cook County communities.

Here in Chicago, which is facing a 0.25% hike in the sales tax effective April 1st to fund local mass transit and the Chicago Transit Authority, the new sales tax would jump from it's current 8.75% rate, to 10.25%.  The new rate would be the highest for any big city in the U.S. - exceeding sales tax rates in New York City, and Los Angeles.

Also approved was an increase in the county tax for monthly parking in public garages - doubling to $40 per month per parked car.

The tax increases passed by a 9 to 7 vote of the board around 10:00 PM last night.  One of the keys to the compromise was a verbal understanding between Board President Stroger and Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D - Evanston) that would turn over control of health services in Cook County to an independent panel for oversight.  The details of this part of the plan have yet to be worked out.

Approved tax increases will generate an additional $456 Million in annual revenue for Cook County.  The Board also agreed to cut its budget this year by 4% overall - with no cuts in County Health Care.   These budget cuts, along with new tax revenue, would eliminate a projected budget deficit of $234 million.

Board President Stroger proposed a nearly $3.3 Billion budget five months ago.  The budget included a 6.8 percent increase in county spending, and 1,100 new Cook County employees.  At that time, Stroger proposed a 2.0 percent increase in the county's share of state sales tax, to 2.75%, as well as doubling the already-nationwide-high six cents per gallon Cook County tax on gasoline.  The doubling of the garage parking tax for monthly parkers, just now approved, was also proposed at that time.

Board Members, and many of their constituents, opposed Stroger's proposals, saying county government is already bloated and inefficient, and loaded with unproductive patronage employees, especially in the Cook County Health Care System.

Commissioner Suffredin, the swing vote on the proposals last night, rebuffed the predictions made by the measures' detractors that the tax increases would scare away businesses and jobs from Chicago and Cook County.  "I've heard them say that for 30 years, and I look downtown and I only see cranes. There's a disconnect there," Suffredin said before he cast the critical ninth board vote to approve the tax increase plan.

Read the full story in today's Chicago Tribune, in an article by reporter Hal Dardick.

DEAN MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Saturday, March 01, 2008 10:06 AM by Dean's Team

Comments

BlogChicagoHomes.com said:

NW SUBURBAN PALATINE, OTHER BORDER SUBURBS, DISCUSS CREATION OF NEW IL COUNTY TO ESCAPE HIGHER TAX BITE!

# March 6, 2008 10:08 AM

BlogChicagoHomes.com said:

PURCHASES OF MANY BIG-TICKET ITEMS MAY GO ONLINE, OR OUT OF STATE! As you no doubt know by now, Sales

# March 9, 2008 11:01 AM
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