Chicago is known as “The Second City” — but when it comes high sales taxesOpens a New Window., it’s number one.
Chicago ties for the top spot alongside two cities in California, Long Beach and Glendale, according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based non-partisan tax research organization.
The three cities each levy a combined state and local sales tax of 10.25 percent on purchases.
In Chicago, consumers pay a 6.25 percent to the state, along with an additional 1.25 percent to the city, 1.75 percent to Cook County and another 1 percent to the transit authority. Added up, the result is an extra $10.25 on every $100 spent.
“This is just one symptom of Chicago’s chronic overspending problem,” said Adam Schuster, the director of budget and tax research at the conservative Illinois Policy Institute. “With a looming budget hole and pension debt soaring to $29 billion, there is no end in sight for taxpayers.”
Schuster said that Chicagoans also face some of the nation’s highest tax rates for items such as parking, cell phone, and streaming services and ridesharing. Some property owners also saw their tax bills rise nearly 12 percent in 2019.
“We’re number one? Oh great,” said one Chicagoan, laughing, after paying for a morning coffee at a Starbucks in Chicago’s downtown.
Among the cities studied by the Tax Foundation, Portland, Ore., and Anchorage, Alaska, scored lowest. Neither has a sales tax.
The only cities that have a sales tax rate of 5.5 percent or less are Madison, Wis., Richmond, Va., and Honolulu, Hawaii.
Though shared, 2019 is the second consecutive year Chicago stood atop the rankings.
In 2020, Long Beach voters will decide on a ballot measure whether to maintain permanently the city’s total sales tax at 10.25 percent.