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Chicago Solves it Budgetary Woes with — Wait For It — New Taxes!

Desperate to avoid a pre-election property tax increase, Chicago aldermen advanced an alternative Tuesday that could end up costing their constituents even more money: a 56 percent increase in the monthly surcharge tacked on to telephone bills.

Effective Sept. 1, the City Council’s Finance Committee agreed to raise the surcharge from $2.50 to $3.90–$1.40 more-per-month or $16.80-a-year–for every land line and cell phone in Chicago. The tax applied to pre-paid phones will rise from 7-to-9 percent, effective Oct. 1.

A family of four with four cell phones and a land-line would end up paying $84 in additional taxes each year. That’s $34-per-year more than the $50 price of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s original plan to raise property taxes by $250 million over a five-year period to shore up two of Chicago’s four city employee pension funds.

Emanuel assured Gov. Pat Quinn that he would steer clear of the property tax to meet the city’s new statutory obligations to put the Municipal Employees and Laborers pension funds on the road to financial health. . .

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