Chicago commuter will see $286 parking tax hike Jan. 1 under Pritzker plan

Chicago commuter will see $286 parking tax hike Jan. 1 under Pritzker plan

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s capital plan calls for an increased parking tax, just one of the new ways drivers will pay more in 2020.

Chicago is notorious for jammed rush hour expressways and expensive parking garages. When the calendar flips to 2020, suburban commuters will pay more for those garages, but the money will not help those congested roads.

A typical Chicago commuter will pay $286 more annually at parking garages as a result of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s record $40 billion budget and $45 billion capital plan. The parking tax increase is one of 20 new taxes and fees Illinoisans have to endure as a result. The infrastructure plan has been clouded by at least $1.4 billion in wasteful spending and corruption schemes, while the budget may be at least $1.3 billion in the red.

The parking tax increase is projected to generate $60 million in revenue. However, the funds will not be used for roads, but rather for vertical infrastructure such a new buildings and renovations. Those projects are where lawmakers packed lots of pork projects such as pickleball courts, dog parks and renovations to a privately-owned theater.

The rate for a monthly lot will be taxed at 9%. The new tax calls for taxes on lots charging three or more cars to park. The policy has not been approved by the Illinois Department of Revenue, but it can still take effect while it awaits their blessing.

Some parking lots will be exempt from the tax. Government-owned lots, Chicago’s many metered lots and street parking, as well as some private lots such as employee parking at hospitals will not be subject to taxation.

The extra $286 for Chicago garage parking is a fraction of the extra $1,700 suburban families could begin paying next year from a gas tax increase, higher vehicle registration fees and trade-in taxes on cars.

A $286 annual parking cost increase would wipe away any potential savings from Pritzker’s “fair tax.” Pritzker has promised middle-class families could save $195 annually from a “fair tax.” Even if that were to occur, the new parking tax would more than eat the savings.

Nearly half of voters polled saw the progressive tax as a “blank check” for lawmakers to continue spending. While the tax is being pushed as a way to curb property taxes, it is more likely to become another broken promise by Illinois politicians who keep using new revenue for new spending rather than to repair old problems as promised.

On Nov. 3, 2020, Illinois voters will have an opportunity to decide whether they want to give up their constitutionally protected flat tax protections and allow lawmakers greater power to set income tax rates. Chicago commuters are about to gain $286 worth of reasons not to giving them that authority.

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