Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce survey shows widespread public concern over increased taxes

April 15, 2008
Contact: Justin DeJong (Chamber) 312-494-6725
Greg Durham (Ask IL) 217-899-7181

New poll shows widespread dissatisfaction with Chicagoland tax climate

Results indicate that taxpayers plan to hold elected officials accountable for
latest increases; pending 10.25% sales tax rate will cause consumers’ to
leave Cook County for purchases

CHICAGO ­– Even as many taxpayers scramble to pay their federal taxes, a new poll released today shows widespread dissatisfaction with the Chicagoland tax climate which has burdened the region’s taxpayers with more than $1.2 billion in higher city, county and state taxes in the past six months. Among the most astounding findings: more than 92 percent of Cook County residents polled said the latest tax increases will affect who they vote for in future elections, while nearly 76 percent said the pending 10.25 percent sales tax rate will change their purchasing behavior and cause them to travel outside of Cook County to avoid paying higher sales tax.

“This poll confirms that there is widespread anger and dissatisfaction about the current tax climate in our region and voters plan to hold their elected officials accountable at the ballot box,” said Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Roper. “Despite raising taxes by $1.2 billion within the past six months, we continue to hear officials at every level of government threaten to raise taxes again, but we’re reaching a tipping point where our region’s economic competitiveness is at risk. Our elected officials must recognize that enough is enough.”

The Ask Illinois poll, commissioned by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, was completed on April 10 with 3,025 participants from throughout Cook County. The poll had a 1.78 percent margin of error. Complete poll results are available at www.chicagolandchamber.org.

Additional poll results show:
· Nearly 36 percent of those polled hold the Cook County Board most responsible for higher taxes, while 42 percent held the Chicago City Council, Cook County Board and Illinois General Assembly equally at fault.
· 95 percent of those polled felt the overall tax burden on Cook County resident was high, with nearly 82 percent who felt the burden was ‘extremely high.’
· The pollsters noted that there is growing dissatisfaction about the overall tax burden – up more than 24 percent over previous surveys.

“These results indicate a total lack of ambiguity in the opinions of Cook County residents concerning the region’s tax climate,” said Greg Durham, pollster for Ask Illinois. “There is across-the-board anger about recent tax increases, which transcend all geo-political differences and will impact both future voting and where purchases will be made.”

Within the past six months, elected officials at all levels of government have approved a flurry of tax increases which impact the economic climate of the region and state. These tax increases include:

November 2007
The Chicago City Council passes record property tax increase and raises many fees for the 2008 budget
$270 million
January 2008
The Illinois General Assembly and Chicago City Council pass a .25% sales tax increase and real estate transfer tax increase to fund the RTA
$530 million
February 2008
The Cook County Board passes 1% sales tax increase, and hikes rate to 10.25% – the highest sales tax rate in the nation
$425 million

$1.25 billion

About the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce:
Since its founding in 1904 as the first regional chamber of commerce in the United States, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to make our region the most business-friendly region in America and enhance its members’ success through aggressive programs of advocacy, member benefits and services, and actionable information. The Chamber’s 2,600 members employ more than 1.2 million individuals in the region. Learn more by visiting www.chicagolandchamber.org.

About Ask Illinois:
Ask Illinois and its national division, We Ask America, have polled more than four million American households since its inception in 2005. A division of Xpress Professional Services, Ask Illinois specializes in large sample surveys on public policy issues. The company’s clients include both major political parties, non-profit trade associations and private businesses throughout the country.

Justin DeJong
Director of Communications
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
200 E. Randolph Street, Suite 2200
Chicago, IL 60601
312-494-6725 (office)
312-636-7666 (cell)


Upcoming Special Events:
March 26: The Exchange, Hyatt Regency, 5-7pm
June 9: Annual Meeting of Membership, Sheraton Chicago, 7:45-9am
August 11: Annual Corporate Golf Outing, Beverly Country Club

Visit the Events Calendar on the Chamber’s website for additional information and to register for any of these events: www.chicagolandchamber.org/sub/events.asp

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