Cook County plans to hike taxes on bowling, golf and cable TV

Cook County plans to hike taxes on bowling, golf and cable TV

“Pay to play” might take on a whole new meaning in Chicago.

The bad news just keeps on coming for Chicago taxpayers.

Starting Jan. 1, 2016, Chicagoans will pay the highest sales tax in the nation, at 10.25 percent. They’re also likely to shoulder the largest property-tax increase in city history, along with new taxes on streaming online entertainment such as Netflix and Spotify, plus a garbage collection fee.

On top of all of this, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants to extend the county’s 3 percent amusement tax to recreational activities such as bowling, golf, ice skating and many for-profit sports leagues, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Dude

Opt to watch other people play sports from the comfort of your couch? That’ll get more expensive, too, as the 3 percent hike would extend to cable TV.

Should Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed amusement-tax hike go through, Chicagoans will pay a 12 percent tax for the privilege of watching cable TV, or $144 extra per year for a cable package costing $100 a month (the nationwide average for 2015).

The county is grasping at straws to fill a $6.5 billion pension shortfall. But nickel-and-diming a shrinking tax base to throw more money into a black hole of government-worker pension debt is a toxic mix.

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