Chicagoland chamber opposes new hotel tax

A recent proposal by Cook County, Illinois Board President Toni Preckwinkle to establish a 1 percent hotel tax drew the ire of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

Representatives from the chamber said the tax would "negatively impact Chicago's tourism industry at the worst possible time." 

Cook County has already raised sales tax by $474 million, a move the Chicagoland Chamber also opposed.

"The decision to raise the Cook County sales tax should have been a part of the regular budget process so as to avoid asking businesses and individuals for more money a second time," a statement from the Chicagoland Chamber said. "The chamber believes President Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board of Commissioners can find other cuts."

In its statement, the chamber maintained a new hotel tax would "cause tourists and convention businesses to choose other cities over Chicago, Cook County will lose revenue, its citizens will lose jobs and its businesses will lack competitiveness."

The proposed 1 percent hotel tax hike would increase Chicago’s rate to 17.4 percent.

“A new 1 percent tax on hotels will make an already challenging 2016 for our hotel and tourism industry even more difficult,” Michael Reever, vice president of government relations for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said. “Cook County’s tourism industry supports more than 190,000 jobs. If we lose convention and tourism business because of this new hotel tax, cuts and layoffs could impact more than 11,000 hotel employees who live in Cook County. This tax will not only impact tourists, it will impact the entire region. This tax cannot be viewed in a policy vacuum.”

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