The Chicago City Council today approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $7.8 billion fiscal 2016 budget. The budget includes a $543 million property tax hike; a fee on garbage collection; and taxes on streaming services in the “cloud,” such as Netflix, ridesharing services, and e-cigarettes.
The following statements from budget and tax policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.
“Massive tax increases will not solve Chicago’s worst-in-the-nation financial problems because they don’t address the root cause of the crisis: unsustainable public pension benefit promises and bloated spending habits. These myriad tax increases are just the beginning. Residents will continue to flee the city and state for greener pastures, thereby shrinking the tax base.
“Until non-essential government spending is cut and public employee union bosses come to the table and negotiate changes to the current pension system, taxpayers’ pockets and public employees’ retirements will not be safe.”
“Chicago faces a significant and growing public pension problem. Instead of tackling this problem head-on, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has instead decided to burden taxpayers with new and expanded taxes to cover the growing debt.
“While the property tax hike is getting most of the headlines, the tax on cloud computing is especially troubling. Taxes on cloud computing services can affect nearly every industry, because virtually all businesses utilize outside companies for software and cloud-computing services to meet their individual needs. The tax will increase the cost of expansion, development, and modernization for nearly all industries, ranging from high-tech biotechnology companies to job-creating manufacturing and retail firms.
“Chicago already has among the highest taxes of any major city. City policymakers should implement tax policies that encourage new businesses to enter the city, not drive them away.”
“Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed $543 million property tax hike and new taxes on Netflix, ridesharing, and other things enjoyed and used by consumers and taxpayers is a declaration of surrender to the laws of arithmetic. City lawmakers are admitting they are in a deep financial hole, due to bad investments and bad decisions in the past, but taxpayers are the ones being punished. Unless the city reforms its finances and its pension programs, the Windy City will continue to circle the drain and more people will leave for saner cities.”
The Heartland Institute is a 31-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.