New ordinance would make it harder for Chicago City Council to tax and spend

Chicagoans are seeking shelter from a barrage of city tax hikes. The Windy City is home to the highest sales tax in the nation. It is in the midst of a record-breaking property tax hike and a water-sewer tax increase. Residents already shoulder the highest tax and fee burden in Illinois. But one alderman is proposing a simple yet potentially... Read more »

Navy Pier makeover shrouded in secrecy

Update: Crain’s Chicago Business reports the IRS is auditing Navy Pier Inc., the controversial nonprofit that controls Navy Pier. The audit will determine whether the group properly disclosed income that isn’t related to the tourist attraction’s primary purpose.  Officials at Illinois’ most popular tourist attraction are pushing the site’s largest renovation in decades. But are they taking... Read more »

Preckwinkle floats sugary drink tax for Cook County

Chicago is home to the highest sales tax in the nation. Its residents are bracing for impact due to a record-breaking property-tax hike and a water-sewer-tax increase. They already pay the highest taxes and fees in Illinois. But apparently it’s not enough. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is “looking hard” at instituting a sugary... Read more »

Rahm offers 1.5M motorists chance to contest red-light and speed-camera tickets

A city program built on bribery got another black eye Sept. 12, as Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to head off a major lawsuit that could cost the city $200 million in ticket refunds, according to the Chicago Tribune. In February, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy ruled city... Read more »

Chicago aldermen using private emails for city business

For all the talk of email servers in the presidential race, you’d think Chicago aldermen would have learned their lesson by now: Don’t mix city business with private property. But 19 city aldermen are using private email accounts for their public duties, according to an Aug. 31 report from Project Six, a corruption watchdog group... Read more »

Feds request at least 10 years in prison for center of red-light-camera scandal

UPDATE: John Bills was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Aug. 29 for his role in orchestrating Chicago’s red-light-camera program while taking bribes from Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. Federal prosecutors on Aug. 15 asked U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall to consider a 10-year sentence “as a floor” for John Bills, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.... Read more »

High taxes are killing Chicago carsharing

Chicago’s sharing economy is under siege. In June, Chicagoans saw aldermen pass extremely complex restrictions on their ability to earn extra money through room rental services such as Airbnb. The new ordinance is 25 times longer than the portion of city code governing hotels, and taxes customers at a higher rate than those who choose... Read more »

Emanuel plans utility-tax hike to fund pensions

UPDATE: The Chicago Sun-Times reports Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning to slap a new 7 percent tax on water-sewer bills. The hike is expected to cost the average homeowner $50 more next year, and $200 more when fully phased in over the next four years. Soon after passing a massive property-tax hike, City Hall... Read more »

37 of 50 Chicago aldermen took illegal campaign cash in 2015

A recent survey of Chicago business leaders showed over 90 percent believed city government engages in some form of cronyism. A July 18 report from Project Six, a new corruption watchdog headed up by former Chicago Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan, helps to show why. The report finds more than two-thirds of Chicago aldermen took... Read more »

Over 90 percent of Chicago business leaders say city is home to cronyism

Chicago is America’s corruption capital. And nowhere is that more evident than in the cronyism that tilts the city’s economy toward favored political players. More than 9 in 10 Chicago business leaders agreed that a form of cronyism is practiced in Chicago, according to a new study commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development. The... Read more »