When former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger raised county taxes a penny on the dollar to help balance his budget, he was portrayed as a political monster in the press. He received front-page stories and made headline news.
His election opponent and now Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle ran on the promise that she would repeal Todd's tax. Truth be told, Todd did the right thing in raising the tax to balance the budget. He was as frugal as possible, a penny on a dollar. Todd was disrespected.
It is one thing to run for office, it is another to sit in the seat and face the issues after the election. Preckwinkle won and did repeal the tax. However, realizing the economic necessity, Preckwinkle pushed hard to get the 1 percent tax increase reinstated. It barely squeezed by the county board back in July and will take effect January 1, 2016.
And now here we are again with Preckwinkle at the helm and she has proposed increasing the amusement tax by 3 percent to capture revenue from golfers, bowlers, people who subscribe to cable TV and folks who buy sports tickets from secondary outlets like Stub Hub.
That's in addition to the existing 9 percent amusement tax, which targets theater, musicals, and other live cultural performances and sporting events.
This is too too too damn much, all for a relatively paltry $22 million the expanded amusement tax is expected to bring in, though every penny counts when you're trying to provide service for people in Cook County.
But people are stressing and straining to keep up with the necessities of life and it's going a bit too far to tax everyday people trying to find escape in something as simple as bowling with friends or watching a good show on cable.
The County could find other things to tax. How about adding tax to luxury items like liquor, furs, tobacco, fine jewelry, luxury cars, boats, electronics, and the like. Commissioner Steele has a good idea, which is to have Cook County Fairs like Taste of Chicago.
The expanded amusement tax will make Chicago a very expensive place for entertainment and sports. In a minute we will have taxes on water, and air and walking on the lake front. But what happens to the politicians that misused the money. What happened to them? Its shameful the politicians can misuse dollars and then the next group simple tax us some more to make up for the deficit.
In light of this, we see some of the best land in the city gifted to Mr. George Lucas for his Star Wars museum for $10 for a 90-year lease. He will build at his own expense. Why not tax the museum build?
Indeed, taxes probably need to increase, in that it is the most likely way to meet budget expenses, but I hope the public responds and reacts to the proposals to give perspective to the increases and the impact on a public that is struggling as it already is.