As Chicagoans ring in the New Year, they also must dole out more of their hard-earned cash for the privilege of living in the city that used to be called “the city that works.” Of course, how much bang a Chicagoan gets for his or her buck depends on who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about. According to a Chicago Tribune report on Friday, Chicagoans are going to be hit for increased taxes, fees, and fines in 2014.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago City Council, and the Chicago Public Schools need to take responsibility for the citizenry’s outpouring of more money. Of course, it’s the elected officials’ job to figure out how to pay the city’s bills. In an effort to accomplish their goals of financing the city in the coming year, these are the measures they are taking.
Property taxes: Property taxes have been increased – which was enacted last August by the Chicago Board of Education. The report asserts that a person owning a residence valued at $213,000 should be prepared to pay another $51 in school property taxes in 2014. Beyond the current increase, it should be noted that Chicago home-owners were subjected to property taxes in the past two years as well.
Cigarette taxes: Chicago becomes the nation’s most-taxed city on cigarettes in 2014 as the already incredibly high tax increases another 50 cents per pack on Jan. 10. The tax on each pack of cigarettes in Chicago will now be $7.17 which surpasses New York City’s current highest tax rate on cigarettes of $6.86. It’s little wonder why Chicago needs to be so vigilant in going after businesses selling cigarettes without the proper markings for taxes and businesses and organizations that continue to sell cigarettes per cigarette from opened packs.
Amusement taxes: Cable TV’s amusement taxes in Chicago will increase from 4 percent to 6 percent.
Speed camera fines: The controversial and publicly-unpopular speed cameras have been activated in Chicago, and there are plenty more to come in 2014. The one-month grace period of warning drivers has passed and some citizens have received their first ticket as a warning. From this point on, those citizens will be paying $100 for driving 11 miles per hour over the school and park speed limits and $35 for driving 10 miles per hour or more over the limits. This actually began in the fall of 2013 but has been just the beginning of what is to come.
Parking violation fines: Parking in a disabled parking spot illegally increases to $250, an increase of $50. Parking too close to a fire hydrant increases to $150, an increase of $50. Parking a truck, recreational vehicle, bus, or taxi cab on a residential street increases to $75, an increase of $50. Parking during rush hour where parking is banned during that time of day will increase to $100, an increase of $40. Parking on a street that is scheduled to be cleaned increases to $60, an increase of $10.
Vehicle impounding fees: Regardless of the reason one’s vehicle is impounded – whether it is having an illegal gun or having a lady-of-the-evening in the car or whatever – the daily fee for storage of the vehicle increases to $20 from $10 for the first five days. Of course, this is on top of the towing fee that must be paid to get one’s car out of the vehicle lock-up location.
Water fees: Water fees are increasing 15 percent in the New Year. This will affect not only Chicago residents, but suburban governments who buy Chicago’s water as well. As can be expected, in many cases, the suburban towns will pass the increased expense on to the home owners.
Sewer fees: As for the sewer fee increase, it basically falls in line with the water’s increased fees.
Zone permit filing fees: Large construction projects’ developers will have to pay higher zoning permit filing fees and huge surcharges for filing in-person as opposed to filing electronically.
According to the report, $32.4 million is expected to be brought into the city of Chicago in 2014. The Chicago Public Schools expect $93 million from the increased property taxes, and the city expects $70 million from the speed cameras.
In spite of it all, Chicagoans, have a Happy New Year.