Sales tax hike goes into effect Tuesday

June 30, 2008 3:50:24 PM PDT
Get ready to pay more to shop in Cook County. A new hike in the sales tax takes effect Tuesday, giving Chicago the highest rate of any big city in the nation. The increase was passed in February to close the county's projected $234 million deficit.

The sales tax in suburban Cook County will begin at 9 percent after the county board more than doubled the tax. The revenue will allow the county to hire more than 1,000 new workers.

Consumer pocket books are being squeezed with higher real estate taxes, increased transportation rates, rising energy prices, escalating food costs and now higher taxes thanks to the cook county board of commissioners.

On July 1, Chicago will have the highest sales tax on general merchandise in the nation.

"They continue to put sales tax on mostly the middle class or the lower class. What are they going to use this for?" said Tyuv Ali, Chicagoan.

"I think it is crazy. Absolutely. How are people that are unemployed going to be able to adjust to that?" said Monica Rivera.

A poll commissioned by theChicagoland Chamber shows voters have widespread dissatisfaction with the region's tax climate.

"A ten and a quarter tax on goods in Cook County combined with a McPier tax on restaurants can make the tax as high as 11 percent. We do not attract and keep business when we create a client that puts more and more burdens on businesses. what will happen is people will shop elsewhere this does not help chicagoaland," said Harry Seigle, Chicagoland Chamber Of Commerce.

"I will go to Lake County where things are cheaper and the taxes are less," said Jennifer Lee, Chicagoan.

"Over 11 percent that is ridiculous. I think we pay more than we should," said Michael Rice, Chicagoan.

Last February, 10 democrats on the 17-member county board approved the $500 million sales tax increase.

"There is a tax revolt that is ready to blow out for good reason? Raising taxes just to protect patronage and old fashion waste," said Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool.

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's officer would not comment on camera.

"All we can do is vote the people out who voted for the tax increase. Vote against them and get this thing repealed," said Claypool.

"Government should be giving people incentives to get the economy going. Instead Cook County is acting as leg irons to hold people back," said Mike Quigley, Cook County Commissioner.

Quigley said this tax increase comes at the worse possible time. He thinks the city and county should help the economy by offering a sales tax holiday for at least a 2-week period to help jump start the economy. That kind of holiday has been successful in other parts of the country.


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