Cook County Sales Tax Rate Increase Approved
- Jul 16, 2015 | Gail Cole
It’s official. The Cook County commissioners have approved 9-7 a 1% sales tax rate increase, which would raise the sales tax rate in Chicago to 10.25%. The additional sales tax is expected to bring in approximately $474 million annually, and is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2016.
Prior to the vote, Board President Toni Preckwinkle said, “We can no longer afford to wait. Every month without action creates another $30 million in unfunded pension liability. The current situation is unsustainable.” The additional tax revenue should fund the county’s government worker pension fund, make debt payments, and allow motor fuel tax revenue to fund transportation needs as it’s supposed to do. Read the proposal here.
Although Preckwinkle reduced the county sales tax after taking office in 2008, she has been lobbying for this rate increase. During the past few weeks, she has spoken privately on the matter with each member of the board, explaining why she is certain a sales tax increase is needed. She insists it will put the county “on a long-term path to financial stability.” Yet she is also open to “scaling back the sales tax increase if her pension plan gets approved by the state.” Certainly, she is well aware of opposition to the plan (Chicago Tribune).
Many retailers have spoken out against it. One jeweler said, “Please say no to the public becoming a money faucet each and every time the government says it needs money.” And a spokesman for the Civic Foundation insisted the tax hike should not be approved unless it was “tied to an actual budget proposal.” Preckwinkle herself has told commissioners, "I'm probably the last person in Cook County to want to increase the sales tax," although she stands by it.
Find accurate local sales tax rates in all states with this free sales tax rate map.