Mayor Lori Lightfoot is counting on the support of state lawmakers to pass increased real estate transfer taxes on sales of high-end commercial properties to fund essential services and help close a chronic budget deficit.
But already, it is rejected.
Lightfoot wants to see a progressive real estate transfer tax that would provide tax relief for real estate sales valued at less than $ 500,000. But sales valued at more than that would be taxed at a higher rate in four tiers. The highest tax rate under Lightfoot’s plan would be for transfers of ownership valued at over $ 10 million, which would be taxed at 2.55%.
When campaigning, Lightfoot said the tax hike would go to programs to reduce homelessness in the city. And now, 13 Democratic lawmakers – including 10 from Chicago – have signed a letter saying they won’t vote for Lightfoot’s proposal unless at least 60% of tax-generated revenue is “statutorily spent” on wrestling. against homelessness.
Lightfoot balked at the proposal, saying last week: “That will never happen.”
Lightfoot argues that given the budget deficit the city faces, it would not be responsible for committing to spending “in perpetuity” 60% of the revenues the new tax would bring to reducing homelessness, given that there are other worthy causes that also deserve additional funding. .
Now, a so-called win-win compromise backed by homeless advocates has emerged that supporters say would generate enough income to boost affordable housing without lowering the income Lightfoot wants to reduce the budget deficit.
Under the new proposal, sales of properties valued at over $ 10 million would be taxed at 4%, but that rate would only apply to the portion of the sale exceeding the $ 10 million mark.
“I cannot stress enough that we view this proposal as a win-win opportunity for everyone,” State Representative Theresa Mah (D-Chicago) said in a statement. “This leaves the money Mayor Lightfoot budgeted to reduce the deficit unscathed, but it also honors his campaign commitment to support a dedicated homelessness revenue stream by investing in permanent and supportive housing. This is what our city desperately needs after generations of chronic underfunding at the city level. ”
But the fight for a change in the transfer tax is not the only thing on the minds of state legislators.
A seemingly ever-expanding federal investigation into corruption is also wreaking havoc, and some fear it could cripple the legislature. Democratic state representative Luis Arroyo resigned on Friday after being accused of federal corruption for allegedly offering a $ 2,500 bribe to an anonymous state senator to support gambling legislation. What this could mean for Chicago’s efforts to secure a casino remains unclear.
And if that wasn’t enough, Springfield lawmakers must also decide how to deal with a threat from Exelon that it could shut down four nuclear power plants in the state unless lawmakers pledge to give it more. money from taxpayers.
Joining “Chicago Tonight” to discuss Lightfoot’s agenda in Springfield and more: State Representatives Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), Ann Williams (D-Chicago), Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and Deanne Mazzochi (R-Westmont).
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