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Hotel tax inches higher in new Cook County budget

November 20, 2015
Cook County commissioners added another percentage point tax on hotel stays in the county when they approved next year’s budget on Nov. 20. The nightly tax on a hotel room will rise to 17.4 percent in May.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle sought the increase to close a roughly $22.5 million gap in her $4.5 billion 2016 budget. One commissioner, John Fritchey, noted that a half-percentage-point cut in the $4.5 billion budget would save the $22.5 million. Other commissioners worried that the higher hotel tax would steer trade shows and conventions from the county.
Before settling on the hotel tax, Preckwinkle considered expanding the county’s 3 percent amusement tax to include cable television bills and other recreational activities such as bowling and golfing.
A 1 percentage point sales tax hike, passed earlier and about to take effect, concerns merchandise that does not have to be titled or registered by an agency of Illinois state government, such as vehicles, so the increase will not affect the showrooms of dealers in Cook County.