Chicago vote-by-mail begins for Illinois primary, Johnson’s tax hike

Chicago vote-by-mail begins for Illinois primary, Johnson’s tax hike

Chicagoans will see their March 19 primary ballots in their mailboxes starting Feb. 8. The last question is on Mayor Brandon Johnson’s tax hike plan.

Chicago vote-by-mail ballots hit the mail Feb. 8, with voters being asked to approve a higher Chicago tax on real estate – pushed by Mayor Brandon Johnson.

The proposal increases the transfer tax rate on the sale of properties valued at over $1 million with the stated intention of addressing homelessness. But Johnson and the city have laid out no details as to how the money will help homeless Chicagoans.

Chicago aldermen decided to let voters decide the issue in the March 19 primary election. Vote-by-mail ballots are the first chance to do so, with Feb. 15 the first chance to vote early in person at the Chicago Board of Elections site at 191 N. Clark St.

Ald. Ray Lopez, 15th Ward, voted against the plan when the council voted Nov. 7, saying the city already doesn’t know how it spends dollars for homelessness.

“Before we ask for more, we have to show Chicago that we know how to spend what we have. We’re asking for more when we don’t know how to use what we already have,” Lopez said.

The Chicago Federation of Labor also refused to back Johnson’s plan, with members worried about what it would do to the city’s economy and development.

Most million-dollar sales are of businesses. Million-dollar properties aren’t just home to billion-dollar companies: Mr. Beef, an iconic sandwich shop, is appraised at over $1.5 million. Under Johnson’s plan, if the owners decided to sell his higher tax would cut into their share.

Illinois Policy Institute polling shows 68% of Chicagoans disapprove of Johnson’s approach to homelessness in the city. Voters need to decide whether taking another $400 million from the real estate market will hurt affordable housing and businesses’ ability to hire people, or whether Johnson’s job performance warrants trusting him to manage more taxes.

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