3 taxes that make Chicago an expensive city

To lure more shoppers over the President’s Day holiday, the shops at 900 North Michigan Ave. hosted a “Tax-Free Weekend.”

That’s a big deal in a city where the total combined sales tax is 9.25 percent – among the highest of all major U.S. cities, according to the Tax Foundation.

Everyone knows that shopping in Chicago is expensive, and made worse by outrageous sales taxes. But what else does the city make expensive through high taxes?

  1. Cell phones – Last summer, Illinois already had a higher cell-phone tax rate than every neighboring state. But effective Sept. 1, Chicagoans were hit with an increased cell-phone surcharge that costs users a great deal more. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a family of four with four cell phones and a landline was likely to end up paying $84 in additional taxes each year.
  2. Cable TV – Chicago City Council loves taxing cable TV. The city’s “amusement tax,” which applies to movies, concerts, sporting events, live theater and entertainment venues with a seating capacity of more than 750, also hits anyone who likes to binge watch television. In 2013, City Council raised the tax rate on cable to 6 percent from 4 percent – now the city is raising the rate again, this time all the way up to 9 percent, costing Chicagoans an extra $12 million in taxes.
  3. Parking garages – Want to park in a public garage in Chicago? It’ll cost you a little more this year, thanks to a tax hike enacted through the city’s 2015 budget. The rate jumped to 22 percent from 20 percent on weekdays, and to 20 percent from 18 percent on weekends. This tax hits commuters and visitors hardest, tacking on an additional $0.60 increase on a $30 parking space, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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