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Cook County to Repeal Wheel Tax, Following Similar Moves by Some Suburbs

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Starting next June, about 50,000 drivers living in unincorporated Cook County will have one fewer tax to pay. The Cook County Board on Thursday voted to do away with its so-called wheel tax. For those affected, it cost $80 or $100 a year, based on the vehicle size. Semis, tractors and buses pay anywhere from $100 to $230, depending on weight.

The county has collected an average of $3.6 million a year from the tax in recent years. Doing away with the charge will save about $500,000 in annual administrative costs, including 80,000 staff hours, according to county finance officials. Those staff hours will be directed elsewhere, they said in a news release.

Several suburban municipalities have done away with city stickers in recent years, but some kept the registration cost in place. According to a 2021 Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning report, 159 municipalities in northeastern Illinois impose annual vehicle fees on residents, ranging from $5 to $90. Among those who have either repealed required vehicle sticker charges: Hoffman Estates, Rosemont, Oak Lawn, Des Plaines, Lombard and Palatine.

Chicago has seen several years of fine and fee changes related to vehicle stickers, which cost $90 a year, as well as parking tickets and vehicle booting and towing. Such charges — and late fees or violations related to them — can lead to spiraling debt.

“It is our duty to be responsible fiscal stewards for our working families,” Morrison said. “As many municipalities have eliminated their vehicle stickers, unincorporated Cook County residents should not be taxed more than their neighbors. I will continue to look for opportunities to find savings as well as provide effective services for our residents.”

The ordinance takes effect on June 30 next year.

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