Well, it happened again. Homeowners in Chicago now face yet another property tax increase to pay for the city’s mounting pension debt. Local taxpayers have already been slammed with nearly $1.1 billion in property tax increases, primarily for police, fire and teacher pensions. That’s on top of a 29 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund; a 56 percent telephone tax hike in 2014 and another 28.2 percent next year for the Laborers fund. Other “revenue enhancements” include a new garbage collection fee, a bag tax, and increases in water, sewer and city sticker fees, hotel and parking taxes and parking fines.
A few weeks ago, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that another shoe is about to drop — a property tax hike scheduled in 2020 to pay for police and fire pensions. Many Windy City residents have had it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the greater Chicago area leads the nation in population loss and has had two such years in a row. This is what happens when taxes become so burdensome — people vote with their feet. Not surprisingly, the number-one destination for residents of Illinois fleeing their high-tax state (the fiscal woes are not limited to Chicago) has been Texas — a state with low taxes and greater economic opportunity.
Without a radical shift in policy away from high taxation and toward economic freedom, Chicago is bound for the same fate as Detroit, a city which reached its population peak in the 1950 census at over 1.8 million people, and decreased in population with each subsequent census. As of the 2010 census, the city has just over 700,000 residents, reflecting a loss of a staggering 61 percent of the population.
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