Elk Grove Village could see its revenue drop by nearly $900,000 next year if Cook County passes a sales tax increase, Mayor Craig Johnson is warning the Cook County Board.
Other Northwest suburbs also oppose the tax. Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider, who is also the Illinois GOP chairman, told the Daily Herald Editorial Board on Monday he also has heard from leaders in Arlington Heights, Hanover Park, South Barrington and Schaumburg opposing a proposed penny-per-dollar sales tax increase.The sales tax now is 8 percent in unincorporated Cook County. The county gets 0.75 percent, the Regional Transportation Authority gets 1 percent, and Illinois gets 6.25 percent. Many suburbs, including the five mentioned by Schneider, have additional local sales taxes.
Johnson said the village's analysis shows income from sales taxes would drop 5.7 percent, or $866,000 a year, if the sales tax increases. That's because buyers would go to DuPage County or other collar counties where sales taxes are lower, he said. That's an issue for Hanover Park as well.
"This is not helpful as we try to draw business to the Cook County side of town," wrote Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig, whose village straddles Cook and DuPage counties.
Schneider, who voted against a previous sales tax hike by former board President Todd Stroger, said he believes an increase proposed by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle to help pay for county worker pensions would have "a "crippling effect on economic growth, particularly in the collar county areas."
"The retailers will be at a competitive disadvantage with retailers in Kane, Lake and McHenry counties, and people will be crossing county lines to buy their good and services outside the county," Schneider said.
The board is expected to vote on the issue at the end of the month. Preckwinkle has said she will re-evaluate the proposal if lawmakers in Springfield act on county pension reform, which seems unlikely as legislative leaders are locked in a budget stalemate.
Schneider said the county should be able to save funds by cutting costs in various departments, including expenses in the office of the clerk of the circuit court.
"We need to look at expenses before we start looking at revenue," he said.
"We've done a better job," he said of cost savings under Preckwinkle in recent years. "But are we where we need to be yet?"