Chicago Mayor Blocks New ‘Safety Assessment’ Tax Proposal

Published January 1, 2008

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) has blocked a plan floated in the Chicago City Council to add an extra tax on local businesses to pay for customary fire and police protection.

Several city council members argued businesses should pay more because more than one fire truck may show up for a downtown business fire.

The “public safety assessment,” which Daley blocked in early November, would have been 40 cents per square foot for each commercial owner or tenant occupying more than 5,000 square feet. Aldermen estimated the assessment would have generated $15 million to $20 million a year.

Daley deemed the tax “selective, dangerous, and a disaster.”

“They’re saying anyone who lives in a high-rise should be taxed higher for fire and police. For what?” Daley told reporters.

The mayor also expressed his concern about a possible legal challenge if the proposal were passed.

John W. Skorburg