Chicago mayor mum on tax hikes

Sept. 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- A spokeswoman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel declined to discuss hikes to the city's cigarette and live entertainment taxes sources said he is considering.

"As he has said for the last two years, the mayor will not raise property or sales taxes and is looking to efficiencies first to balance the budget," said Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton.

The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday that the mayor was considering reducing a $369 million budget gap with increases in the so-called amusement tax which taxes tickets for sporting events, concerts, plays and other live entertainment.

The tax on tickets could go up to 10 percent for major sporting events and concerts and 5 percent for entertainment at smaller venues, the newspaper said.

The mayor's office is considering an additional 1 percent tax on tickets, which currently nets the city about $90 million in revenue per year.

The cigarette tax in Chicago, slightly less than the $5.85 per pack tax in New York City, already totals $5.67 per pack in the Windy City.

Revenue from cigarette tax is expected to reap $18.8 million in 2012, down sharply from the $32.9 million in cigarette tax revenue in 2007.

Revenue from cigarette tax is falling because fewer people are smoking and because the tax pushes people to buy their cigarettes outside of the city, the newspaper said.

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