Chicago City Council members, community groups call for reinstatement of corporate head tax

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some members of the Chicago City Council's Progressive Caucus laid out their budget plan Tuesday, including calls to reinstate the city's corporate head tax.

"It's time for corporations to pay their fair share," said Dave Morris of One North Side.

"The reality is that someone has to pay to make sure that the city of Chicago is functioning, that we're meeting our pension obligations, that we're filling the potholes in the streets," said 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. "Working people have paid more than their fair share, working people have paid enough."

A corporate head tax would apply to businesses with 50 or more employees. They would be charged $16 per quarter for each employee, which would generate an estimated $106 million.

"The business community and the Chicagoland Chamber is opposed to the employee head tax," said Jack Lavin, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "This was the number one hated business tax for Chicago."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut the head tax in half after taking office, and then eliminated it entirely in 2014, which was credited with helping spur corporate relocation to the city.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot got the endorsement of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce on a campaign promise of not using the business community as a budget ATM, and has previously said she was not in favor of the head tax.

"I think it sends a message to the business community, 'Don't come here. You've got to pay for the privilege to hire somebody,'" Lavin said.

Tuesday afternoon the mayor said she is continuing to explore a number of revenue options.
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