Chicago Board Votes Again On Cutting Sales Tax

November 23, 2009

For the third time, the Cook County, Illinois Board voted to cut its hefty sales tax, which when combined with the state rate has residents paying 10.25%. And for the third time, the Cook County Board President Todd Stroger vetoed the reduction. An override vote will likely be scheduled soon.

The proposal would reduce the sales tax to 9.75%, below that mental double-digit threshold. Anecdotal evidence suggests that county residents are buying whatever they can in the suburbs, though Stroger says hospitals will shut down if the tax is cut:

“People are window shopping in our areas and spending their money in Lake, Du Page and Will counties,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman (R-17th).

And longtime reformers claimed the cut will finally force the county to trim payroll fat.

“It’s going to force the board to do what it should have done all along which is to make elected officials accountable and begin to streamline government which has an unsustainable rate of spending,” said Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-12th).

But the tax cut would also mean the certain end of in-patient care at both Oak Forest Hospital and Provident Hospital, according to Stroger. That would result from an estimated $75 million dollar health care budget cut and up to 1,300 layoffs by 2011.

Chicago’s total sales tax rate is the highest of any big city in the country. New York City’s sales tax is 8.875%; Los Angeles is 9.75%.

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