Chicago mayor loses tax hike support on South Side, West Side

Chicago mayor loses tax hike support on South Side, West Side

Voters on the South Side and West Side of Chicago supported Mayor Brandon Johnson just a year ago. They just vehemently rejected his plan to raise the real estate transfer tax, which threatened businesses and lacked details about easing homelessness.

A majority of Chicago voters rejected the “Bring Chicago Home” referendum, but what is interesting is who handed Mayor Brandon Johnson this loss and where they live.

The plan was the last of Johnson’s nine schemes to increase Chicago taxes by $800 million a year and failed with 53.7% “no” votes to 46.3% in favor, with 98.5% of precincts reporting. Johnson’s South Side and West Side supporters in the mayoral election a year ago turned into opponents on the tax hike referendum, with even his neighbors in the Austin neighborhood rejecting it.

Comparing Johnson’s 2023 votes for mayor on Chicago’s South and West sides to the support for “Bring Chicago Home” shows a steep drop in support for him. For example, Fuller Park, where nearly 80% of voters backed Johnson in 2023, saw only 46% vote “yes” on the referendum.

Johnson’s inability to deliver this tax hike, even with his former bosses at the Chicago Teachers Union pumping $400,000 into the campaign and lobbying students before marching them to the polls, does little to inspire confidence in his leadership. It’s telling when even his neighbors don’t back him.

The next time Johnson or other city leaders ask voters to weigh in on a tax hike, they should present it with a plan about how the money will fix the problem before asking people to sacrifice for it.

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