Chicago, IL – Today, Mayor Emanuel presented the City’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget, which proposes to increase property taxes by as much as $600 million to pay for police and fire pensions, and $125 million in other revenue enhancements to pay for operating expenses. The property tax hike would take effect over four years, frontloaded in 2015 and 2016.  The proposed budget includes $176 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.  The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce will continue to monitor the City budget hearings and all proposals for additional fees or taxes, but no matter how large or small the property tax increase, the Chamber opposes 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 Cook County’s archaic and unfair classification system already requires commercial and industrial properties to pay 2.5 times more than residential properties.

The Chamber 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. The Cook County sales tax increase and the looming state revenue shortfall should also be considered. Additional tax and regulatory burdens on the business community are simply not sustainable.

The Chamber applauds Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s leadership in presenting a budget that is honest about the true cost of government and takes another step in tackling our City’s legacy fiscal obligations. Chamber members want certainty so they can plan for the future, and this budget is a long-term step toward righting the City’s fiscal ship which has been off-course for a generation.

It took us a generation to reach this point, and the Chamber is committed to working with Mayor Emanuel and City Council on crafting an honest and responsible budget.

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