Friday, June 10, 2011

Ald. pushing phase-out of employee head tax

The $4-a-month employee head tax despised by Chicago businesses would be phased out over four years, depriving the city of $19.6 million in annual revenue, under an ordinance quietly introduced by a North Side aldermen.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), owner of Ann Sather restaurants, has been on the warpath against the head tax since he was appointed to the City Council by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2002.
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Tunney re-introduced the ordinance, turning up the heat on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to honor a campaign promise.

Tunney said he’s well aware that Emanuel inherited an annual operating deficit approaching $700 million — and $1.2 billion when unfunded pension liabilities are factored in.

But, the alderman argued that $5 million a year should not be hard to find.

“Eliminating this tax is important to business. I think it can be done. In our search for cost-efficiencies and savings, we can find time to send a signal to the business,” he said.

“We’re gonna bring in businesses to hear what a negative impact it has on their ability to hire new workers. The most important thing we can do is to provide every incentive for people to add to their payrolls. This could be a job creator, which would help the business climate and, ultimately our budget issues.”

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