Mar 17, 2008
Cook County, under the control of the Democratic Party, voted on February 29 to increase the sales tax by another 1%, bringing the total in Chicago to 10.25%, the highest of any big city in the country.
There is plenty of tax money already there to avoid this latest sales tax increase. But it is given away in subsidies to business. This is done through TIF’s, which means Tax Increment Financing districts. All the increased taxes after this scheme was put in play have gone into the TIF slush fund.
Here’s how some of it was doled out in the last couple years alone: 40 million dollars to the merger of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange with the Chicago Board of Trade, just after they reported 579 million dollars in combined profits, and despite the fact that they were cutting 400 employees! Then there’s 51 million dollars to Walton Street Capital LLC, which is developing the old Chicago Post Office. And 58 million dollars to developers of Union Station, led by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Also 26 million dollars for the Brickyard Mall, and even $225,000 for a Starbucks!
Today over half of all the property tax collected in Chicago goes to TIF’s, which means that more than half of the property tax money that Cook County should have to use on public services is going to business. The Cook County politicians are lying when they say they have to raise the sales tax by another 1%. They could cut it by much more than that!