Former Chicago Bear Sworn in as Mayor of Chicago Suburb

Published August 1, 2009

Jim Schwantz vows to fight sales tax hike

In early 2008, ex-Chicago Bears linebacker Jim Schwantz declared his intention to run for mayor of Palatine in northwest suburban Chicago in the April 2009 election. He ran unaffiliated, won, and was sworn in as mayor in early May.

Schwantz defeated three challengers, including longtime mayor Rita Mullins, who ended up placing a distant third.

Though they were opponents, Schwantz and Mullins both strongly opposed last year’s one percentage point increase in the Cook County sales tax. Palatine borders Lake County, where the total sales tax is three points lower, at 7 percent. Local business people say they are losing customers to businesses in Lake County because of the big difference in sales tax rates.

Citizens in Palatine and several suburban townships are so angry about the sales tax hike that a movement to secede from Cook County has taken root. Mullins was among the supporters of an advisory referendum calling for secession, which received strong support in the April election.

Schwantz, 39, is new to the political scene and said he wants to “give back” to the community where he has been raising his family. He said one of those ways would be to “work with the county, state legislators, and neighboring communities to do everything possible to reverse the [sales] tax increase.”

— John Skorburg