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City Council OKs 20% weekday tax for parking, 18% on weekends

Mayor Rahm Emanuel presides over City Council meeting Wednesday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel presides over the City Council meeting Wednesday.

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Updated: May 12, 2013 1:59PM



Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to change Chicago’s parking tax — from a sliding scale to a flat rate — sailed through the City Council Wednesday, despite fears that it would sock it to hotel patrons who park overnight and have a chilling impact on tourism.

The final vote was 39-6. Dissenting votes were cast by Aldermen Bob Fioretti (2nd), Michael Chandler (24th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Mary O’Connor (41st), Brendan Reilly (42nd) and John Arena (45th).

Emanuel’s plan would change the tax from a sliding scale that tops out at $5 for a daily parking rate of $12 or more to a fixed percentage of 20 percent on weekdays and 18 percent on weekends. The more you pay to park, the higher the tax.

Reilly and the trade group representing the hotel industry have argued that the city is in for a windfall at the expense of hotel patrons, who currently pay $50 a day to park at downtown hotels and would therefore be hit with a $10 weekday tax on that fee.

They have warned about the impact on regional tourists who drive to Chicago at a time when hotel occupancy is on the upswing.

Budget Director Alex Holt has countered that the tax overhaul would be “revenue neutral.” She has further argued that the current tax structure forces economy parkers to pay too much while luxury parkers pay too little.



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