Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jack Lavin was quoted in a Feb. 23 Chicago Sun-Times story about a judge’s ruling on a controversial real estate transfer tax.

In the article, Lavin praised a judge’s ruling invalidating a referendum that would have put a real estate transfer tax increase on the March primary ballot. Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan — also known as the Bring Chicago Home referendum — proposed using these funds to combat homelessness.

“No plan has been communicated on how they’re going to spend the money,” said Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President Jack Lavin, calling the ruling “a victory for taxpayers.” “The city’s just asking for a blank check and saying, ‘Just trust us.’”

Mayor Johnson’s Bring Chicago Home referendum on the March primary ballot is invalid, Cook County judge rules, Chicago Sun-Times

We at the Chamber share the desire to improve support for Chicago’s unhoused population, but we believe this plan is too vague and doesn’t provide insight into how the funds will advance this cause. Also, we’ve seen cases where such measures have had a negative impact on the local real estate market. In Los Angeles, for instance, a similar measure “chilled the market immediately,” according to one LA real estate attorney.

Given that Chicago’s downtown real estate market is still recovering from the pandemic, we believe this proposal would have had a cascading negative impact on our city.