Saturday, November 8, 2008

Daley ready to dish out more TV taxes

The free ride may be coming to an end for at least 135,000 Chicagoans who get their cable TV by installing a satellite dish.

Tucked away in Mayor Daley's plan to raise the city's amusement tax from 8 percent to 9 percent is a proposal to broaden the amusement tax umbrella to include "direct-to-home satellite service."

For years, the amusement tax has been tacked on to monthly cable TV bills. Satellite customers who purchase their service through DirecTV and Dish Network have gotten off scot-free.

Now that Daley is scrounging around for every available dollar to plug a $469 million budget gap, the loophole may be about to close.

The revenue package expected to be approved Monday by the City Council's Budget Committee requires DirecTV and Dish Network to provide the city's Revenue Department with the name, address and telephone number of all Chicago subscribers. The companies are further required to warn subscribers they are "liable" for the amusement tax" and "may receive a separate bill from the city."

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