Some Chicago aldermen have put forward a list of alternative proposals to help bring in revenue needed to help the city address its pension crisis.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants aldermen, who are up for re-election next year, to approve a $250 million property-tax increase over a five-year period as a means to shore up Chicago's municipal and laborers pension systems, which together have a $9.4 billion shortfall and serve about 57,000 workers and retirees.
But some aldermen have other proposed revenue solutions.
Ald. Will Burns (4th) on Tuesday floated the idea of imposing a congestion fee on drivers coming into downtown. Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) also already has a measure that looks to impose a 1 percent tax on some 620,000 commuters from the suburbs who work in Chicago.
Additionally, Burns wants to see a city tax on "high-end" services provided by attorneys or landscapers, to name a few, but would “draw the line on services like haircuts and hairdressers."
“The property tax has to be part of the mix," the alderman told the Chicago Sun-Times. "But we also need to find other revenue options that are fairer than the property tax. If you’re able to generate more revenue from other sources, maybe the property tax goes down."
Burns added that Gov. Pat Quinn should "make sure cities get an appropriate share" of the 2011 temporary income tax increase, which is set to phase out come January, but could be made permanent if the governor has his way. The 2011 income tax hike did not allow for municipal revenue sharing, and Burns said that should change if the increase is made permanent. Such a move would provide the city with $150 million annually, the newspaper reported.