Chicago avoids property-tax hikes … for now

Fewer than four months out from the 2015 mayoral election, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel managed to pass a budget that avoids dreaded property-tax hikes.

But the mayor’s budget does jack up the price of parking downtown. The city is hoping to bring in $10 million by raising the transportation tax collected for garage parking – weekday and weekend rates will jump to 22 percent and 20 percent of gross receipts, respectively. The budget claims the city will use this money to double the number of road-repair employees.

The parking tax marks the third time Emanuel has raised or changed parking rates to bring in more city revenue, NBC Chicago reported.

Though Emanuel avoided it for now, the day of reckoning will come soon for the city’s broken pension funds. Chicago residents are officially on the hook for $63.2 billion in government pensions, health insurance and other debt. That divides up to more than $23,000 per Chicago resident, or more than $61,000 per household.

Tinkering at the edges with higher fees can only do so much. Eventually, Chicago leaders will have to make tough decisions – and enact sweeping reforms.

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Tags: chicago, hikes, Illinois, property, tax

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