Paul L. Caron

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Chicago Gets Highest Sales Tax in U.S.: 10.25%

From the Associated Press

[A]fter the Cook County Board voted Saturday to double the county sales tax to 1.75%, ... the county increase has the cumulative effect of setting a 10.25% sales tax on goods bought in Chicago. ... The rates in New York and Los Angeles are below 8.5%. The next highest rate in the country is in Memphis, Tenn., at 9.25%.

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came across these comments 9mos after the fact. seems the crystal ball of chicago corruption isn't exactly hazy.

Posted by: | Jan 10, 2009 3:35:44 PM

Chicago has 10.25% sales tax AND 2% sales tax on grocery, incl. medicine. We also have income tax and property tax. Wonder why we have to pay all the taxes and some other states with lower sales tax and do not even have income tax?
Where does our tax money go?

Posted by: Lydia | Oct 28, 2008 9:56:45 AM

The scary thing is that Daley is mayor, his brother wants to become Governor, and Stroger is running Cook County. If Daley's brother gets elected for Governor, the whole Illinois is going to run out all the middle-class citizens out of town. Daley is too into the Olympics that he forgets who elected him. This state has become a "me" state.

Posted by: dovetail | Jul 1, 2008 5:14:18 PM

dump daley!
dump stroger!
dump hartigan!
dump murphy!
dump all these crook county gangsters who rape our wallets and pocket books.
just for the record: though i live in the city, i buy NOTHING there. liquor, gasoline, clothing, food, cars: all bought in the suburbs. i'm sick and tired of these louts who feel they have free reign over my meager salary. just exactly what are chicagoans paying for? greed is NOT good!

Posted by: martin jones | Jul 1, 2008 1:39:54 PM

How can Chicago become a tourist (or "transient") town with such ridiculously high taxes? Why would people already suffering through a recession, falling home values, climbing gas prices, and higher cost of living decide that NOW would be a great time to visit Chicago? What good is our Mag Mile if no one, not even tourists, want to shop there? Is Chicago really that much of an attraction now? I could fly to New York on what I'd save shopping there. I love this city, and I can't imagine moving, but I may be forced to. This decision to raise taxes couldn't have been more poorly executed, and it feels like one more thing on top of an enormous steaming pile.

Public Transit in Chicago (the CTA) just raised their fares again ($2 one-way now), and have been cutting back routes and cars. Food is more expensive here, and everywhere of course. Heat and electricity prices rose again this winter. We have a state income tax. We pay $75+ for a "city sticker" to slap on our cars (some neighborhoods even require separate ones, too). Parking taxes just went up downtown (not good for tourists at about $30 a day). A gallon of regular gas goes for $4.40 in the city; a pack of cigarettes $8.00. But wait- add 1% to that figure >:(

All of this would be fine if the state rewarded us with decent public schools, transit, law enforcement, or any other public service. But no. As an earlier poster noted, the taxes are very high in Europe, but they forgot to mention that, among other things, they don't pay anything for health care. There's the rub, folks. High taxes are supposed to pay for a higher quality of living.

Anyone want to come see the 2016 Olympics in Chicago?

Posted by: Sad State of Affairs | Jul 1, 2008 9:38:39 AM

That's not good for people like me looking for Chicago real estate. I hope the hike does something productive for the city.

Posted by: Shell Smith | Jul 1, 2008 7:54:10 AM

Some of my friends dropped out of college to work full-time so they can pay their living expenses. After a few months of that, they ended up moving back in with their parents. Finding a job in Chicago is becoming difficult, even for my fellow graduates who work minimum wage jobs with a degree. Slowly but surely, my friends moved away & I will be (this summer - YaY!). I grew up here & never wanted so badly to leave, because it just doesn't feel like home anymore. Chicago feels as though it wants to just be a tourist town. Who is Millennium Park really for? I have no interest in visiting my wasted tax money in the shape of a bean! It's a transient town.

Posted by: LilChicago | Mar 19, 2008 11:03:46 PM


Posted by: USED TO LIVE IN COOK | Mar 16, 2008 1:07:07 PM

I am moving--PERIOD!!!!

Posted by: Jimmy D. | Mar 11, 2008 8:13:35 AM

Yeah 10.25%. I'm moving out!!!

Posted by: tony_chicago | Mar 6, 2008 5:12:39 AM

Chicago shows it leadership again. No mention of the 30k alderman salary increase. This town loves it benovolent dicatators and will not face the reality of the need to end the decades of corruption and inefficiencies. The pay offs, the lack of accountablity, ghost payrolls and vendors just crush this city in taxes. Next they will propose an oxygen tax. The city may barely work, but what a price.

Posted by: taxtorch | Mar 4, 2008 1:57:16 PM

To get a sense of the attitude in Cook County, this guy was the swing vote for the increase.
From the Sun Times: "Chicago now has the unfortunate notoriety of having the highest sales tax in the country, and our region will now be a more expensive place to visit, live, work and operate a business," said Jerry Roper, head of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "The people of our region should be outraged."

Suffredin scoffed at that.

"I've heard them say that for 30 years," he said. "I look downtown and only see cranes."
Sufferedin has the attitude of an overlord looking down upon the minions.

Posted by: rockdalian | Mar 3, 2008 2:40:17 PM

We live in the Cook County suburbs and will be here a while due to my wife's job and schooling for our son. When we get a chance, though, away we go.

To correct a couple things above: I'm pretty sure Chicago does not have an income tax, and IL state individual income tax maxes out at 3%, a relative Godsend, although of course this one-party sinkhole of a state is doing its best to raise that.

I heard on the radio today that the population of Chicago fell roughly 8% from 1970 to now. No reason why it shouldn't fall a lot more. And IL's economic output has fallen, relative to surrounding states, by something like 27% over the past few decades.

Way too easy for an enterprising young person to set up in Iowa or Indiana or even the People's Republic of Wisconsin.

We have shifted as much of our buying as possible to online and to NW Indiana.

And Stroger is a con-man, jackass, oily, lying little scumbag.

Posted by: Chester White | Mar 3, 2008 2:22:09 PM

Cook County is a joke thanks to the County President Todd Stroger - who was elected into office to cut patronage and corruption at least thats what he said. The first thing he does is hire relatives, friends, ex-boss and every other person he owed favors to. Now thanks to his padding the payroll with his cronies added to the waste and corruption he passes a double whammy so as a Chicago resident I pay 10.25% sales tax thats more than New York and Illinois. Now if the Democratic governor gets his way we will pay even more in income tax. This is a complete travesty.

Posted by: gman | Mar 3, 2008 12:03:52 PM

Remember, this is Illinois - where the current governor floated a plan to tax business something like 2% on REVENUES.

Posted by: Mike S. | Mar 3, 2008 10:03:50 AM

But we have no state income tax here in Tennessee... I can deal with the high income tax.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 3, 2008 9:14:00 AM

You should all move to the Valhalla known as Nassau County, Long Island, NY. That's the county that borders NYC.

We are privileged to pay 8.75% sales tax AND enjoy extra bonuses to boot.

The AVERAGE real estate tax is about $8,500 per year. We get to pay a hidden, 20%, "gross receipts tax" on our utilities.

Of course, as residents of the wonderful State of NY, we get to pay a 7% income tax on income from 20-100K. Above that, it's onward and upward.

For some reason, the pols here (repub and Dem are all simply whores for public employee unions) cannot seem to come up with an answer to the vexing problem of most educated young people choosing not to stay here. Those young people have the gall to move to justa bout any other state in the union rather than stay here and enjoy the tax wonder that is Long Island, NY.

Posted by: Long Island sufferer | Mar 3, 2008 7:56:00 AM

At least in Tennessee there is still no state income tax. Chicago has very high income and property tax rates too. But I am sure they have great schools ;)

Posted by: Net hick | Mar 3, 2008 7:48:36 AM

Good work driving a stake through the hearts of the working people! With another increase you can make Chicago a tax wasteland.

Posted by: Tantor | Mar 3, 2008 7:44:05 AM

Actually, contrary to what a lot of people here are assuming about taxes driving business out of Chicago/Cook County, we've done just the opposite: tax breaks to attract business, e.g., Boeing HQ. I won't try to run it to ground but I think there was a recent study showing that of all major metropolitan areas, Chicago has made the most aggressive use of business tax breaks. But then that's added up to a huge hole in the tax base, which means city and county shortfalls have to be made up by sales and property tax and fees for everything under the sun. That's where working and middle class folks are getting killed. So it goes the long way around to bite businesses because their working and middle class employees can't afford to live close to work. But Daley owns the City Council and the Cook County Board is hopelessly Old Machine, so any alderman or board member who speaks out on their constituents' tax burden gets crushed.

Posted by: Sarge6 | Mar 3, 2008 7:33:33 AM

Unless Illinois has no state income tax, the comparision to Memphis is unfair.

Posted by: Tim | Mar 3, 2008 6:51:34 AM

I live in southern DuPage - my assessed valuation dropped about $80 grand.

I'm thrilled cos my prop taxes will go lower.

Wait until housing is factored in.

There is no republican party in IL to beat the drums.

We have joined CA as a Peoples' Republic.

Posted by: Sandy P | Mar 3, 2008 6:46:33 AM

To all businesses fleeing Chicago COME TO NEW HAMPSHIRE. No sales tax and NO
income tax.
Great work force, Close to everything and great skiing this year.

Posted by: Robert Malvesta | Mar 3, 2008 6:18:11 AM

Sales tax in North Little Rock Arkansas is up to 8 or 9, and something like 12 for restaurants and their may be a drug tax too. Also, we have 7% income tax. Thanks Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee and our local mayor!

Posted by: Shanna | Mar 3, 2008 5:10:26 AM

For years Arab, Alabama has held the record for the city with the highest sales tax. I just checked, and it looks like it is still the highest with a combined general sales tax rate of 12% (4% for the state, 4% for the county, and 4% for the city).

Posted by: Beau | Mar 3, 2008 4:48:13 AM

Sales tax rate in Montgomery County, TN, is 9.5%

Posted by: Bob | Mar 3, 2008 4:22:07 AM

Tax rates are so high for everyone it's incredible the media ignores it, (to help the Democrats stay in power). A family making 65,000 is in a tax bracket that is utterly choking them to death (and unfortunately, govt entities have figured this out and they load on the health and retirement benefits like crazy for their employees, which ends up choking the regular taxpayers even more!!).
Family making 65,000 pays 15.3% SS tax (yes, 'er portion counts too!), 25% fed, 7% state) so ends up with about 50% of their money. If their employer has another $1000 to pay them, the 'ee ends up getting about $500........then if they want to buy a TV in Cook County.........$ 50 MORE tax........that's $550. Then they still have to spread all their property taxes, and other fees and license taxes.........easily over 60% tax in total.
Government entities have alot of nerve spending the money like drunken sailors........but they'll keep doing it as long as the voters stay clueless!

Posted by: steve Bourg | Mar 3, 2008 3:26:13 AM

...And sales tax in Britain? 17.5%!!!

Posted by: george | Mar 3, 2008 2:00:21 AM

But we still have an income tax... Wasn't THAT supposed to go away first, before sales tax levels go up??!

Posted by: Dz | Mar 3, 2008 1:22:15 AM

As a former Chicago area resident now living in New Hampshire:
What was the tax on my TV...$0.00
on my iPod...$0.00
on my couch...$0.00
on this MacBook...$0.00
washing machine...$0.00
desk chair...$0.00
Die Hard with a Vengence DVD...$0.00

But, Chicagoans, please stay where you are at, you must be getting world class governance for that 10.25%.

Posted by: Glenn Howes | Mar 2, 2008 10:18:46 PM

Monroe LA is %10

Posted by: Ducky | Mar 2, 2008 10:10:20 PM

Wow, you'd have to be nuts to buy anything there. I'm sure those who can will be buying out of city limits whenever they can.

Posted by: sam | Mar 2, 2008 9:31:56 PM

We in Chicago are delighted to finance the incompetence of our collective city, county and state governments. We also routinely leave the county to make large purchases. In fact, we did ZERO Christmas shopping on Michigan Avenue (which is 3 blocks from our home) and instead bought early from Amazon mostly (saving about $200 in sales taxes). We just bought appliances, cabinets, counters and flooring out of the county and saved 3% on the sales taxes, which also amounted to a few hundred bucks. Personally, I am happy to spend the gas money to drive out of the county just to deprive the greedy (and usually corrupt) hacks of the boost to their budgets. I really can't imagine making a major purchase in Cook County; I've adapted my behavior and now it's just second nature.

If any members of the Cook County Bd of Commissioners, or City government catch this comment, I want to be sure they know that I will be moving out of the City of Chicago and Cook County next year. It's obvious that Kane or DuPage counties don't assume that my entire salary is really theirs for the taking.

Posted by: TS Kelso | Mar 2, 2008 9:31:24 PM

At least there actually ARE places with more sales tax than the Seattle area (8.9%, although most groceries aren't taxed,) even if you could probably count those places on one hand. They tried to add a 1% tax hike for "education" (read: more failing schools and bureaucracy) on top of that a few years back, but it got overwhelmingly rejected by the voters.

Posted by: Brian Lutz | Mar 2, 2008 9:28:23 PM

My Texas sales tax is 8.25% but at least we got no state income tax, dagnabbit.

Posted by: The Big Kev | Mar 2, 2008 9:19:01 PM

They say our Florida sales tax is so high (7%) because we have no state income tax!

I bet stores just outside the city limit are loving it.

Posted by: Mark | Mar 2, 2008 9:16:33 PM

Don't forget, Chicago taxes food and medicine at a 2% rate too!

Posted by: David | Mar 2, 2008 9:05:26 PM

And the city continues to wonder why businesses are running for the hills. Go figure.

Posted by: Mark Buehner | Mar 2, 2008 9:02:38 PM

I suspect they do not want people to live in Cook County. I really think they are trying to drive ALL middle-class and working people out of Cook county to DuPage and Will counties. They want to get rid of ALL of them.

And it (tax increase) is designed to prevent ANOTHER tax increase when "Todd" Stroger (Cook County Board President) runs for reelection.

The democratic machine predomination in Chicago and Cook County is turning Chicago and Cook County into a third-world zone. People do not want to live there; businesses cannot operate there; and corruption is rampant on municipal, county, and state levels.

Posted by: First Post Ever | Mar 2, 2008 8:22:37 PM