The Spark

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

Chicago:
Taxes, Fees, and Tickets

Oct 13, 2014

Here’s how the City of Chicago steals money from working people. The City set up cameras to issue red-light tickets. Each ticket is $100. And to make sure they get more money, the city has shortened the yellow lights, in many cases below three seconds. Try to stop in less than three seconds going down a major artery at 45 mph with a semi right behind you!

Then there’s parking. First off, every car that parks in the city needs to have a city sticker, which costs $86 a year for a standard car, no matter whether it’s a $500 beater or a $100,000 Bentley. And if you live on a street that is zoned for residential parking, you need to pay an extra $25 for the right to park in front of your own house. Then, just about every commercial street, even small ones in the neighborhoods, has parking meters. The fees for these meters go up and up every year – up to $6.25 an hour downtown. This money doesn’t even go to the city. Since Chicago privatized its parking meters, the money goes to a private group led by the giant bank Morgan Stanley.

Chicago also has one of the highest sales taxes in the country – 9.25%, unless you’re buying pop, in which case it’s 12.5%. The city even taxes food and drugs!

If you’re making a million dollars a year as a commodities trader downtown, the $100 ticket, $86 city sticker, and more expensive groceries don’t add up to much. But if you’re struggling to make it on a worker’s wages, they add up to a lot.

That’s how revenues from the working population pay for tax breaks and other subsidies big companies use to pad their profits.