Public Policy Newsletter
|Thursday, September 24, 2015
City of Chicago
September 22, 2015 Mayor Emanuel presents the City’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget, which is expected to increase property taxes by as much as $600 million, add a new $9.50-a-month charge for residential garbage collection, and create a new fee on ride-hailing services. The property tax hike would take effect over four years, frontloaded in 2015 and 2016. The proposed budget is expected to include $118 million in cuts and efficiencies.
No one likes higher taxes, least of all the business community that pays a disproportionate share of the property tax. While the Chamber will monitor the City budget hearings and all proposals for additional fees or taxes, we can state today that no matter how large or small the property tax increase, we will oppose all efforts to increase the homeowner’s exemption for residential properties.
An increase in the residential homeowner’s exemption would shift even more of the property tax burden on to businesses, as the Cook County’s archaic and unfair classification system already requires commercial and industrial property to pay 2.5 times more than residential properties. We will remind the Aldermen that Chicago recently increased its minimum wage, implemented a plastic bag ban, increased the 911 surcharge, and is considering implementing a paid sick leave mandate. Let’s not forget the Cook County sales tax increase and the looming state revenue shortfall. Additional tax and regulatory burdens on the business community are simply not sustainable.
The Illinois General Assembly House Revenue and Finance Committee has scheduled a subject matter hearing for Thursday, September 24 at 10 a.m. to consider the residential homeowner’s exemption.
Working Families Task Force
Meetings of the Mayor’s “Working Families Task Force” will continue into October. We have spoken with a wide variety of Chamber members, and conducted extensive research on the paid sick leave issue to ensure the concerns of the business community are conveyed.
The Chamber opposes a city-only paid sick leave mandate. A city-only, one-size fits-all approach to this issue (as with the minimum wage mandate) is wrong and short-sighted. Businesses are feeling mounting cost pressure from regulatory mandates at all levels of government. Adding another layer of bureaucracy will be counter-productive, ultimately costing jobs and wages.
The Chamber thanks the City for working with the business community to ease the burden of the ‘cloud tax.’ The Chamber’s Tax Policy Forum submitted substantial research opposing the ‘cloud tax’ and met with the City’s Department of Finance to lay out a variety of concerns and recommendations, including amnesty and carve-out considerations. We continue to work closely with our members and the City on this issue.
State of Illinois
During the budget impasse, the State continues spending due to a combination of signed appropriations, court orders, and consent decrees. The State is on track to spend $4.6 billion more than anticipated revenues and the State’s backlog of bills will reach $8.6 billion by the end of the year. The Chamber has maintained dialogue with all parties to emphasize the adverse impact on businesses caused by the uncertain timing of a solution and the concern that, once again, business will bear a disproportionate share of the burden.
Most solutions involve substantial tax increases that become more difficult for individuals and businesses to absorb. The Chamber supports the many reforms needed to foster a more business friendly climate, and will continue to advocate that Governor Rauner and the legislature work together for the betterment of Illinois.
Chamber in the News
September 15 | Chicago Tribune | Clarion call for regional economic push is largely unheeded
September 16 | Crain’s Chicago Business| Emanuel sticks business with the bill for City Hall’s financial mess
Upcoming Partner Event
2nd Annual Sustainable Energy and Economy (SEE) Summit
Where: The Union League Club, Chicago
When: October 26, 2015; 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
This year’s Sustainable Energy & Economy (SEE) Summit™ is organized around the theme of “Innovative Strategies for Corporate Sustainability.”
Industry leaders, representing corporations committed to advancing goals of corporate sustainability and sustainable development, are speaking in this event.