Typical Chicago homeowner will face $174 more in taxes in 2018
Increases in several taxes mean a higher tax bill for taxpayers.
The Chicago City Council overwhelmingly approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2018 budget, which included several tax increases, by a vote of 47-3. This means taxpayers will have to shoulder the burden of bailing out failing Chicago government.
The average homeowner will have to shell out $174 more in taxes next year to City Hall, according to the Chicago Tribune. Of that amount, nearly $97 can be attributed to property tax hikes, courtesy of Emanuel’s previously planned increases and Chicago Public Schools. However, Chicagoans can expect other fees as well. Emanuel plans to increase 911 fees by $1.10 per line per month, which means a family with three phone lines will pay $40 more each year. Additionally, water bills will go up $37 for the typical home as part of an annual increase passed in 2016. These annual water-sewer tax increases will continue until 2021.
These tax hikes are being sold as a means to further shore up underfunded pension systems. “[O]ur pensions are on the path to solvency,” the mayor said in his annual budget address. The Illinois Department of Insurance released a report in October showing unfunded pension liabilities continue to grow.
Yet the city has not enacted pension reforms or other fiscal or economic reforms that would bring costs in line with what taxpayers can afford. Instead, it continues to heap heavier burdens on the backs of taxpayers.
The city got itself into its financial mess in the first place through skipped pension payments, excessive borrowing, unaffordable contracts and general fiscal mismanagement over more than 20 years. Pension reform, right-sizing payrolls and strict financial controls – not increasing the tax burden – are key to making Chicago sustainable for future generations.
The city should forego any attempts to increase an already exorbitant and ever-growing tax burden. Instead of nickel-and-diming Chicagoans, the city should be looking at real reforms, such as introducing a 401(k)-style alternative to failing city pension funds, addressing city spending and eliminating tax increment financing districts. Until the city enacts true reforms, residents will live under the constant threat of increased taxes.