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Five Cook County tax alternatives floated.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Mickey Ciokajlo

[ http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2007/11/five-cook-count.html ]
[Please click on HTML link above to access video clip]

With the Cook County Board less than two weeks from its Nov. 30 deadline to pass a budget, a key commissioner is proposing five new taxes today.

Commissioner Robert Maldonado, who is a budget swing vote on the 17-member board, has been the sticking point in blocking a sales tax hike proposed by Board President Todd Stroger.

At today's county board meeting, Maldonado will introduce five revenue enhancers he says would raise $73 million for next year's budget and $123 million over a 12-month basis. His ideas are:

*Expanding the definition of gas and diesel tax to "fuel tax," which would include jet fuel. Rate of 6 percent stays same.

*A 1 percent hotel tax.

*An on-premise alcohol tax of 1.5 percent of sales.

*Increasing the use tax from .75 percent to 1 percent. The use tax is for licensed property like cars, snowmobiles and boats that are purchased outside of Cook County but registered with the state to an address inside the county.

*Raising the motor vehicle weight tax. This would be a new $100 tax on the purchase of vehicles over 3,300 pounds.
They come as Stroger is pushing a 2008 budget plan that would more than triple the county portion of the sales tax.
Maldonado said he's trying to target the burden as an alternative to the sales tax hike he opposes. But Maldonado said he has not yet gauged support among Stroger or board members.



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