New Chicago budget hikes property taxes

By Kierra Gray

Chicago homeowners are facing an estimated 13 percent property tax increase after the City Council voted 35-15 to approve Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s $7.8 billion dollar city budget Wednesday.

The fiscal 2016 budget includes $755 million in additional taxes and fees. Chicagoans will see the property tax increase take effect over four years.

“For the owner of a home worth $250,000, that represents about a $554 annual increase,” reported the Chicago Tribune.

Families who live in duplexes, three or four-flats, or single-family homes will pay a newly adopted $9.50 per month for trash pickup, according to the Tribune.

The budget includes more than $62 million in trash pickup fees, about a $48 million increase in fare and fee increases for shared-ride services or taxis, $40 million in new taxes for services such as Netflix, and another $16 million in other fees, according to the Tribune.

“I do commend the members of the city council for taking like they have, each of the past four years, for taking a significant step forward to balancing our budget, ridding it of the bad habits that have masked the true cost of operating government, and finally getting our pensions for our police and firemen on a stronger footing knowing and more secure that they can retire on it,” said Emanuel.

Police expenditures account for 38 percent of the total budget. Fire department expenditures total 16 percent. The budget also includes an estimated $543 million from property taxes to cover pensions for retirees of the police and fire departments.

Of the 15 aldermen that voted no, Aldermna Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward), representing the Northwest Side, expressed disappointment with the approved budget.

 “We just passed a massive, massive property tax increase without any relief or any protections and now we’re just hoping that Springfield protects our people. I think that was wrong and that is why I said let’s begin by cutting our salaries. Let’s begin by reforming our tip system and then and only then should we move forward with raising more property taxes,” said Ramirez-Rosa.

Photo at top: Mayor Rahm Emanuel successfully convinced the City Council to pass a $7.8 billion fiscal 2016 budget that includes an estimated 13 percent property tax increase spread over four years. (Kierra Gray/Medill)