Illinois Policy 12/19/2016
Though Chicago already has the highest sales tax in the nation as well as massive property taxes, the Chicago City Council passed new hikes on parking fees in Midway and O’Hare airports.
‘Tis the season to score a year-end deal on a new car for Christmas. But Illinois consumers will also receive an unwanted gift to go along with the new car – higher airport parking fees.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed, and on Nov. 16 the City Council passed, an increase in airport parking fees as part of the city’s 2017 budget. If Illinois had a taxpayer bill of rights, drivers would have been shielded from the fee hikes that Emanuel and the City Council are imposing.
The Midway Airport daily rate will rise to $32 from $24.75, and overflow parking will increase to $11.50 from $5.50. The O’Hare International Airport daily rate will increase to $32 from $24.75, the valet rate will go to $54 from $41.75, and overflow parking at O’Hare will rise to $30 from $21.75. The extra revenue from the parking fee increases will go to pay for airport operations and upgrades. Since the city taxes airport parking, the city will also receive more money from the fee increase.
These fee increases will fall heavily on the shoulders of those who own and drive vehicles, who already pay numerous other vehicle-related taxes and fees. Some of these taxes include gas taxes, parking taxes, a wheel tax and even a $1 fee on every tire purchased. Many Chicago vehicle owners also have to pay for special permits for street parking.
But Chicagoans aren’t the only ones who will be affected by this fee increase. Since Midway and O’Hare are the two largest airports in Illinois, many Illinois residents use these airports for travel, and will also be subject to the higher parking fees. And while Chicago residents have the option to take public transportation, such as the CTA, to the airport, other Illinois residents don’t have public transit options and may have no alternative to the parking fee.
Increasing the parking fees is just another attempt to nickel-and-dime taxpayers to fill holes in the city’s budget. But Chicagoans are overburdened with taxes already. In additional to the taxes on vehicles, Chicagoans also pay the highest sales tax in the nation, an amusement tax, and other taxes such as a bottled water tax and a cigarette tax. This is all in addition to paying for a massive property tax hike passed in 2015.
A better holiday gift from politicians would be a taxpayer bill of rights, which would protect residents from sudden tax increases. Under a taxpayer bill of rights, elected officials would need to first seek approval from voters before introducing any new taxes or raising existing taxes. A taxpayer bills of rights creates a formula for how much revenues can be collected each year, based on increases of population plus inflation, and also would restrict the government from collecting revenues above what the formula allows. Restricting revenue would prevent elected officials from increasing fees in an attempt to get around asking taxpayers to pay more taxes.