Chicago, IL – Chicago’s hotel room tax will increase by 1% in the Spring to 17.4% under the new budget approved in November by the Cook County Board.
The tax hike was included in the final approval of the county’s $4.5 billion budget and will take effect in May.
Choose Chicago had urged members of the tourism industry to make their voices heard to board members in an effort to get the tax increase reversed or modified; however it was approved as part of a plan to close a $198 million revenue gap in the county budget. The increase is expected to add about $15.4 million to the county coffers next year and $31 million annually after that.
Board president Toni Preckwinkle pushed the proposal through over objections from the city’s tourism industry, which warned the higher hotel tax could chase away trade shows and other visitors. Preckwinkle dismissed the concerns by calling it a minimal increase that would tack “$1 a night on a motel stay, $3 or $4 a night on a stay at the Four Seasons.”
“I don’t think that’s going to discourage anybody from coming to Chicago, nor considering Chicago as the site of a convention,” Preckwinkle said prior to the Finance Committee vote.
The tax increase was proposed as a way to help meet county pension funding requirements and avoid layoffs of county workers, which the Chicago Tribune noted had earned Preckwinkle the support of county government labor unions.
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