Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Thursday, January 23, 2020

GOP strategist forecasts an accelerated 'fiscal demise' if Chicago approves new 'LaSalle Street Tax'


By Glenn Minnis | Jan 5, 2020


Republican political strategist Chris Robling does not mince words about his opinion of a plan to enact a margin tax on "businesses that conduct business in Chicago, minus certain labor costs."

“New taxes are the problem, not the solution,” Robling told Chicago City Wire. “Illinois’ tax burden is already too high the way things are and not much good can come from any higher rates.”

The proposal, which calls for a "LaSalle Street Tax" of just under 1 percent, is being floated by counsel to the Multistate Tax Commission and former Illinois Director of Revenue Brain Hamer. It comes in the wake of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's State of the City Address in which she alluded to the need for more revenue by pointing to Chicago's $838 million budget shortfall.

Republican political strategist Chris Robling

“A Chicago margin tax may be criticized by some potential taxpayers, but the fact is that no realistic alternative exists,” Hamer wrote in defense of the plan in a commentary penned in the Chicago Tribune. 

Robling disagrees, fearing that any additional tax increases could topple the whole system.

“The city is losing population, the state is losing population and more taxes in the city will only make it harder for people to stay," Robling said. "That means it will make it harder for the city to pay all it owes to the unions and, over the long run, hasten the fiscal demise of the city by effectively reducing revenues and further deepening our fiscal imbalances.”

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