Chicago is known as the Windy city and for good reason. However, thanks to a recent vote by Cook County commissioners, where Chicago calls home, it could now be called the tax city. That’s because Chicago, which already had a sales tax rate of 9.25 percent is jumping into the double digits after county commissioners voted to raise the sales tax rate by 1 percent, to a whopping 10.25 percent, which is the highest city rate in the entire country.
The new sales tax rate will take effect on January 1 of next year, and is expected to give the sales tax in the county a $474 million boost every year. Officials said they passed the increase proposal because they need the additional funds to help fix the pension system for Cook County employees. According to Cook County officials, there is already a shortage in the retirement of about $6.5 billion and the problem is getting worse every year, as it is reportedly increasing by $360 million annually.
With the increase, Chicago will now pass four counties in Alabama that all had sales tax rates of 10 percent, to become the city with the highest rate. Time will tell if the increased sales tax income will be enough to make a difference in the pension shortfall, but Chicago can now claim it’s number ranking for a rather dubious distinction.