Chicago City Council to debate new revenue ideas, including more taxes

City Council members are set to meet on Wednesday to discuss new tax and revenue ideas, following a survey of 16 possible proposals circulated by 6th Ward Chicago Alderman William Hall.

The proposals include a congestion tax, a monthly wireless tax plan, a city sticker increase, a vacant lot tax, a gaming tax, and a plan to generate new revenue by placing billboards along the Chicago River. Hall emphasized his openness to all ideas.

"Ideas around taxing big rig trucks moving through residential neighborhoods," Hall said. "I've heard ideas surrounding delivery. We have these big companies like Amazon that are no longer using gas, so what do we do about electric vehicles doing deliveries?"

Many of the 16 proposals would require approval from the state. Hall stressed that the aim is to find revenue sources that won't burden city residents.

"My colleagues have centered themselves on the space of creativity. No proposal have I seen yet that says let’s raise taxes on Chicagoans," Hall said.

However, 15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez expressed skepticism, noting that any new tax or fee would ultimately impact Chicago's taxpayers.

"Any tax that we put on there, any fee, that ultimately will be borne by the taxpayers of the city of Chicago, especially if it’s a gaming tax, that’ll be Chicagoans," Lopez said. "All of those will be borne by the residents of the city of Chicago."

Lopez argued that the more appropriate discussion should focus on budget cuts.

"The fact of the matter is we’ve seen this government’s budget grow nearly 50% over the last five years and we haven’t done a deep dive to determine how we’re going to maintain that spending," Lopez said.

Other ideas being considered include a grocery tax and an income tax surcharge on higher earners.

In a related announcement, Mayor Brandon Johnson revealed four public forums for citizens to discuss services, revenue, and spending. The forums will be held on:

  • July 22 at Malcolm X College
  • July 25 at Truman College
  • July 27 at Kennedy King College
  • July 30 at Harold Washington Library