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Cook County Sales Tax Drops Thursday

Thursday, July 01, 2010
Chicago Public Radio
by Alex Keefe

Cook County's portion of the sales tax will go down Thursday. But that still leaves Chicago with one of the highest big-city sales taxes in the country.

It's been an ongoing fight since 2008, when the Cook County Board raised the sales tax by one percentage point. County commissioners voted repeatedly to repeal the tax, only to be fended off by vetoes from Deomocratic Board President Todd Stroger.

But commissioners finally were able to repeal half of it, dropping the sales tax rate in most of Cook County to 9.75 percent beginning Thursday, down from a highest-in-the-nation 10.25 percent.

The rollback still leaves the Chicago in a dead heat with Los Angeles
for the title of highest sales tax in the U.S., according to the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group.

Commissioner Tony Peraica, R-Riverside, says that's not good enough.

PERAICA: I believe that with the pressure of the Cook County voters and taxpayers, particularly on the eve of the November 2nd general election, that there will be enough votes to get the remainder of this Stroger sales tax increase repealed.

But it's unclear whether there will be the political will to repeal the remainder of the sales tax hike.  The Democratic nominee for Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, has recently stepped away from her campaign promise to rescind the increase.

Cook County could take a $200 million blow as a result of the rollback, says Stroger spokesperson Chris Geovanis. That will hit the county particularly hard given that revenue has dropped during the recession and federal stimulus money has dried up, she says.


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