Lesser Known Chicago Taxes

 I present to you a list of actual taxes levied on the citizens of Chicago:

  • Restaurant Tax

  • Meals Tax

  • City, County and State sales tax

  • Amusement Tax

  • Cable/Satelite TV Amusement Tax

  • Boat Mooring Tax

  • Bottled Water Tax

  • Gas Use Tax

  • Vehicle Fuel Tax

  • Cigarette Tax

  • Electricity Infrastructure Maintenance Tax

  • Electricity Use Tax

  • 9-1-1 Landline Tax

  • 9-1-1 Wireless Tax

  • Head Tax (penalty tax against businesses who employ more than 50 people)

  • Soda Tax

  • Ground Transportation Tax

  • Hotel Tax

  • Liquor Tax

  • Car Rental Tax (iGo and Zip Car users, you know what I'm talking about here)

  • Tire Tax

  • Telecommunications Tax

I did not include all of the taxes administered in part of in whole by the city of Chicago in this list. Property taxes and water bills were left off this list.

Now, I shall put on my Wizard's hat and project 10 years into our future and glance at the City of Chicago tax administration in the year 2022. All of the above taxes are still in place, all of their rates have increased and with declining population, each remaining citizen is paying more and more for basic services and labor union contracts constrict the city into a slow fiscal squeeze. Under this pressure, the Chicago City Council has passed the following taxes, once thought to be too obsurd to mention:

  • Toilet Paper Tax

  • Refrigerator Tax

  • Fast Food Tax (Yes, Subway, the city is including you)

  • Energy Drink Tax

  • Milk Tax

  • Red Meat Tax

  • Roof Replacement Tax

  • Mobile Device Tax

  • Sugar Tax

  • Printing Paper Tax

  • Electronics Tax

  • Internet Use Tax

  • Magazine Tax

  • Plastic Tax

  • Swimming Pool Tax

  • Salon Tax

  • Day Care Tax

It's a funny list today...but beware, you live in Chicago. That list could very well be your 2022 reality.

Wonder what apartments in Houston are going for...

 

 

 

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  • As to fast food tax, there at least was one (supposedly to cover the cost of picking up the wrappers). Some fast casual restaurant that I think is now out of business challenged it in court, and I don't remember how that came out.

    Internet tax, they'll have to wait for the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act to run out. However, Chicago won a lawsuit against StubHub! regarding the power to impose a scalper tax, since it was also imposed on bricks and mortar ticket brokers [624 F.3d 363 (7th Cir. 2010)].

    Rahm has already, in effect, proposed the Salon Tax, known as the Rahm Tax, by proposing that the Retailers' Occupational Tax (which is the formal name of the sales tax) be extended to services, but he needs legislative approval for that. Also, we know what socioeconomic group the salon tax would affect.

    One also has to figure that Chicago and Cook County pile onto these taxes, at much higher rates than surrounding territory, resulting in merchants over the city or county line advertising "No Chicago Gas Tax" and "No Cook County Cigarette Tax."

    Which brings up another issue. Stuff like the bottled water tax doesn't work, because it just diverts the business to the Walmart in Niles, for instance. Hence, Rahm has to come up with taxes that can't be avoided (unless the revenuers are going to check your fridge). Preckwinkle had already proven this--the Cook County sales tax is being reduced, but the county imposed instead an increase in the vehicle title use tax, and residents can't avoid that since the Secretary of State reports all car registrations in Cook County to the County Treasurer.

    Anyway, since Rahm says that the property tax has to triple to meet pension obligations, and the transit advocates have their tax increase plan today, you are right that something is going to hit the pocketbook. However, as is usual in such things as RTA funding crises, city politicians will try to dump the costs on suburbia, except they now need the help of suburban legislators to do that, and probably won't get it after the income tax hike.

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