Chicago Automobile Trade Association

New tax mulled for vehicles in Cook County

November 16, 2010

Most new and used vehicles retailed in Cook County would face a new $100 flat tax, under a Cook County Board measure intended to help stanch the county’s estimated $284 million budget shortfall.

Dealers in Cook County would have to charge the tax to all Illinoisans but not to residents of other states. The tax would not be subject to private sales.

Commissioners plan to vote on the plan by Friday, Feb. 29, the deadline to pass this year’s budget.

Lobbyists for the CATA are working to turn back the tax plan, and dealers are urged to oppose the plan to Cook County commissioners. A list of the commissioners and a map of their districts is at

Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, a Democrat from the county’s 8th District on Chicago’s Near West Side, wants to add a weight tax of $100 on vehicles with a curb weight above 3,300 pounds, among other measures to generate $95 million for the county coffers. He introduced his proposal at the county board’s Feb. 20 meeting.

The 3,300 pound threshold would ensnare most vehicles. For example, the curb weight of a Ford Mustang is 3,352 pounds.

Maldonado’s motor vehicle weight tax ordinance would spare hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, and commercial vehicles, which operate to transport persons or property "in the furtherance of business," according to the proposed ordinance.

Other items proposed by Maldonado to face tax hikes include alcohol, hotel stays and aviation vehicle fuel.

The Cook County Board has been haggling since last autumn over ways to close its fiscal budget gap. Board President Todd Stroger continues to boost the county sales tax from 0.75 percent to 2 percent.



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