Chicago, IL (October 28, 2015) – Today, the City Council voted 36-14 to pass Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2016 City budget, and 35-15 on the revenue ordinances which includes the $588 million property tax increase to fund police and fire pensions. The Mayor should be recognized for his leadership in putting the City on a path toward fiscal stability.
The business community, however, remains concerned with two aspects of the Mayor’s budget. First, the Mayor is proposing to mitigate the effects of the property tax increase for residential homeowners by doubling the homeowners’ exemption. This would shift more of the property tax increase onto to businesses large and small. Second, the $588 million property tax increase assumes that the Governor will sign Senate Bill 777, providing the City with more time to meet the actuarial required contributions to the police and fire pensions.
Without the Governor’s signature, Chicago taxpayers will be asked for an additional $221 million for the police and fire pension funds, a burden which will be disproportionately borne by the business community.
“At a time when Mayor Emanuel has called for shared sacrifice from all stakeholders to ensure Chicago remains a vibrant, world-class City to live, work and visit, his exemption proposal is not reflective of that call. We are opposed to the Mayor’s proposal to shift the property tax burden onto businesses through a doubling of the homeowners’ exemption,” said Michael Reever, vice president of government relations for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “The Chicagoland Chamber supports Senate Bill 777, which allows the City more time to meet the required police and fire pension payments. The business community believes that leaving the homeowners exemption as is and signing Senate Bill 777 into law once released by the Illinois Senate is a more appropriate shared sacrifice.”
Cook County’s archaic property tax classification system has kept property taxes artificially low for Chicago homeowners for decades, and residences will continue to enjoy some of the lowest property taxes in Cook County even after this increase. Businesses already pay 2.5 times more than residences because of this classification system.
The Chicagoland Chamber and the business community stand ready to be a partner in securing Chicago’s future, but we cannot accept a further shift of that responsibility on to the employers who create jobs and anchor neighborhoods.
About the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce combines the power of people with our legacy of leadership and business advocacy to drive a dynamic economy. We focus on delivering value for our members, making Chicagoland a world-class place to live and work. Visit ChicagolandChamber.org.