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Dog owners join Chico in blasting pet-grooming tax

Mayoral candidate Gery Chicago Thursday February 10 2011. | For Sun-Times~AbdPallasch

Mayoral candidate Gery Chicago on Thursday, February 10, 2011. | For the Sun-Times~Abdon Pallasch

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Updated: February 11, 2011 1:26AM

Mayoral candidate Gery Chico stood among the dogs — and their owners — Thursday to argue that pet-grooming is not a “luxury” and should not be taxed, as rival Rahm Emanuel has proposed.

“You think getting your pet groomed is a luxury?” asked Chico while standing amidst mastiffs, basset hounds and Boston terriers at Soggy Paws on Armitage. “Everyone who has a pet knows you need to do that. It’s not a luxury.”

As Chico spoke, a great Dane pawed a sign hung around its neck that said, “Keep your paws off working families.”

Other dogs wore signs saying, “RahmTax = Back to the Pound” and “Rahm don’t tax my haircut.”

Emanuel proposes to cut the city’s share of the sales tax from 1.25 percent to 1 percent and make up the $45 million in tax revenue that would be lost by taxing “luxury services” such as pet grooming.

Emanuel spokesman Ben Labolt said the service is indeed a luxury, and cited a Sun-Times story about how Soggy Paws features mango-scented foaming face wash for dogs.

“Even the dog knows it’s wrong to give tax preferences for mango-scented doggy facials but not for single moms struggling to buy school supplies,” Labolt said.

Chico also took offense to a negative mailer Emanuel sent out on the issue that Photoshopped a Chico-look-alike in front of a limousine, another service currently not subject to the sales tax that Emanuel would tax. Chico opposes taxing limo rides.

“He cropped my head on top of some guy that’s clearly heavier than me. I don’t own that tie and I don’t own that suit, and clearly I don’t own that car,” Chico said.

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