Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



‘Stroger sales tax’ increase all gone as of New Year’s Day

Monday, December 31, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by LISA DONOVAN

Yes, as a matter of fact we are the Second City.

With the dawn of a new year, a lower sales tax rate in the region means Chicago no longer has the highest combined sales tax rate of any large city in the nation. Now it’s in second place.

As of Jan. 1, Cook County’s sales tax fell a quarter of a cent. In Chicago, that means the combined sales tax — meaning state, county, city and mass transit sales taxes — tacked on to most retail purchases, except groceries, dropped from 9.5 percent to 9.25 percent. That’s just below first-place Phoenix, where the rate is 9.3 percent, but above Los Angeles and New York, where rates are 9 percent and 8.875 percent, respectively, according to Chicago-based YETTER, a sales-tax consulting firm

Likewise, taxes on a restaurant tab will fall a quarter of a cent but will vary depending on where you dine across the county. Restaurants inside a special taxing district, which includes downtown Chicago, will see taxes fall from 10.75 percent to 10.5 percent, for example.

The rollback wipes the Stroger sales tax increase off the books. Back in 2008, then-Cook County Board President Todd Stroger championed — and won the votes from a majority of county commissioners for — a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase that pushed Chicago’s overall sales tax to 10.25 percent, a sales tax rate higher than any other large city in America.

Stroger and others argued that the increase was needed to plug a budget hole and keep the doors open at the county’s public health system.

Laurence Msall, president of the tax watchdog Civic Federation, said those revenues never went to pay for services provided by the couunty’s health system, which serves the poor and uninsured.

“It disproportionately went to other areas of the government,” Msall said. “In many cases, the money went for retroactive pay raises outside the county hospital system.”

And the larger public and business community pooh-poohed the increase, especially as the economy tanked. In 2009, as the 2010 elections neared, county commissioners feared a backlash at the polls and voted to roll back the unpopular sales tax increase by half a penny.

For Stroger, who defended the sales tax increase, it was too late. Voters sent him packing. Toni Preckwinkle, a Chicago alderman who campaigned on rolling back what was left of the tax increase and shoring up costs, easily won the board presidency.

After taking office, she quickly struck a deal with commissioners to slash the remaining half a penny: a quarter of a cent on Jan. 1, 2012, and the final quarter of a cent on the first day of 2013.

So now the “Stroger sales tax” — as Preckwinkle likes to call it — is gone for good.

Stroger couldn’t be reached for comment. In a prepared statement released by her office, Preckwinkle said: “We made the choice to cut taxes on everyday items a majority of residents need. This was a vow I made to working families who saw the price of toothpaste . . . and baby formula rise. It’s a pledge I made to businesses that were concerned their customers would buy goods outside Cook County.”

Suburban county commissioners said that tax increase hurt businesses on the edge of the county, as consumers flocked across the border to purchase everything from clothing to televisions.

Liz Gorman, a suburban Republican county commissioner, said the rollback levels the playing field for Cook County businesses. “It gives the businesses along the borders of Cook County a better opportunity to compete with businesses in the collar counties,” she said in a prepared statement.

The rollback means county government won’t see an estimated $86 million in revenues this year. But the Preckwinkle administration expect tax revenues to be higher than expected in 2013.

“We have already seen an improvement in sales tax activity and were able to revise our original projection for sales tax revenue for 2013 as a result, by $10 million. We will continue to monitor this trend for further improvements,” county Budget Director Andrea Gibson said in a prepared statement.

DePaul University Professor Joe Schwieterman, who has been studying retail spending and the effects of the sales tax increase, said any improvements in sales tax revenues should be looked at in the bigger picture.

“The sales tax rollback is only part of the equation. There’s a rebound effect in the general economy,” Schwieterman said, noting that he doesn’t want to dismiss Preckwinkle’s push to slash the sales tax, which he called the “most business-friendly” and consumer-friendly move in some time.

“I have no doubt that the county rollback has had big effects, but we’re still a high sales tax region,” he said. “And I think the high sales tax [rate] generates long-term erosion. Just the tourist spending and online shopping puts a damper on downtown shopping and tourists spending in ways we’re only beginning to understand. It wasn’t just the last county sales tax increase — it’s this compounding effect. Consumers still face sticker shock.”



Recent Headlines

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials aren’t sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board Adopts Resolution Concerned With Foxconn Impacts
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group

FBI: Ex-employee alleges Dorothy Brown picked up cash payoffs at bagman's home
Thursday, August 02, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Demolition of MWRD dam to clear way for fish and recreation
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Tom Dart to pair inmates with pet dogs
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County Minimum Wage, Sick Time Advisory Questions Approved for November Ballot
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Journal and Topics Media Group

Editorial: Berrios and Kaegi: What a new assessor can and can't fix
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Your Personal Data May Be Exposed in Cook County Traffic Records
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
CBS Chicago

Garcia avoids public tiff with Preckwinkle, delays plan for county revenue forecasting commission
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County TIF districts bring in $1 billion
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County board moves to prevent repeat of pop tax fiasco
Friday, July 20, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County forest worker was going 76 mph in 30 mph zone, had THC in system during fatal crash while on job: prosecutors
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP