Finance Committee approves Emanuel's $62.4 million tax package

Taxes will be going up on everything from parking and vehicle leasing to cable television and skyboxes, under a $62.4 million revenue package advanced Monday to help bankroll Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 budget.

“We may not like it, but it’s something we can all live with,” said West Side Ald. Jason Ervin (37th).

With a pre-election property tax increase averted by a telephone tax hike approved last summer, there was virtually no debate, either on the $62.4 million tax package approved by the Finance Committee or on the $7.3 billion spending plan itself advanced by the Budget Committee.

In fact, Finance Chairman Edward Burke (14th) asked if there were even more tax “loopholes” that might be closed to generate sorely needed revenue — by imposing the city’s restaurant tax on websites like Open Table that arrange restaurant reservations.

But that doesn't mean there'll be no pain for Chicago consumers.

The $12 million plan to wipe out the amusement tax exemption that has long benefited cable television companies will cost the average cable customer $2.40 more per month — $28.80 more per year — assuming it’s passed along to consumers. That’s a pretty safe assumption.

Chicago levies a 9 percent amusement tax on movies, concerts, sporting events, live theater and entertainment venues with a seating capacity of more than 750. For years, cable companies got a 5 percent break — and paid an amusement tax of just 4 percent — to offset their franchise fee.

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