The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Cities Hit Us with Tax Increases While Businesses Pay Less

Oct 22, 2007

In Chicago, the mayor is proposing to raise the property tax by 15%, raise the water and sewer fee by $45 a year, add $2.50 a month to phone bills, 10¢ for a bottle of water and 8¢ for a six pack of beer. At the same time, the head of the county is proposing 2% more in the sales tax, raising the total area rate to 11%–the highest in the country–and adding 6¢ more to a gallon of gas.

The same thing is happening around the country. The National League of Cities, in a report issued October 18, said that 45% of all cities have increased user fees and 29% have increased property taxes, with more increases planned for next year. In Michigan, the state increased the income tax by 11.5% and extended the 6% sales tax to more services. In Baltimore, water fees are going up again and are now double what they were five years ago, while the state is raising the sales tax by another% and adding a tax on services. In Los Angeles, skyrocketing housing prices have driven up property taxes, while workers’ income hasn’t gone up at all.

These new taxes the politicians are pushing through–sales tax and property taxes, along with user fees–fall heaviest on poor and working class families.

The politicians say they need more money and not enough taxes are coming in. That’s true. And public officials make sure of that. They exempt more and more businesses from property taxes. In Chicago, the city takes a whopping 400 million dollars collected in property taxes and turns it over to various businesses, including some of the biggest and richest banks in the world. And they set the evaluation on many of the richest downtown buildings way lower than it should be, losing 18 million dollars a year from just the Sears Tower in this way. In Detroit, selected areas of the city are called Renaissance Zones where developers don’t have to pay taxes and the businesses located there are exempt from taxes for 13 years.

Having given all this tax money away, government officials are now trying to take more from us. In other words–once again they’re trying to rob us so they will have more to give to big business and the wealthy.