Chicago City Council seeks to hike ridesharing fees

Chicago City Council seeks to hike ridesharing fees

One alderman with strong ties to the traditional taxicab industry has suggested raising fees on ridesharing to fill the growing budget gap.

Alderman Anthony Beale, 9th Ward, has been working behind the scenes for years to obtain stricter regulations for the ridesharing industry to bring it in line with the highly regulated taxicab industry. His latest suggestion, increasing fees on ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft to balance the budget, seeks to further penalize taxpayers.

With the city budget shortfall now marked over $250 million, aldermen are looking for ways to shift the cost back on taxpayers. Beale’s idea is to tack on an additional 48 cents per ride and to increase the $5 per-pickup fee for rides originating at McCormick Place, Navy Pier and O’Hare and Midway airports.

Beale has been pushing strict regulations while selling the narrative that it’s about being fair to the taxi industry. But it’s hard to believe Beale is concerned about fairness alone. Beale has received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from pro-taxi groups such as the Illinois Transportation Trade Association Political Action Committee, including a $5,000 contribution in 2017.

The city should rebuff any attempts to increase an already exorbitant and ever growing burden of taxes and fees. From the nation’s highest wireless taxes, to taxes on streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify, to a new garbage collection fee – not to mention a record-breaking property tax increase and the highest sales taxes of any major city in the nation – residents are tapped out.

Instead of continuing to nickel and dime Chicagoans, the city should look internally for real reforms such as introducing a 401(k)-style alternative to failing city pension fundsaddressing city spending, and eliminating tax increment financing districts.

Until Chicago enacts true reforms, residents will have to continue to live under the constant threat of increased taxes and fees.

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