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Rosemont will fight amusement tax

Thursday, July 14, 2005
Daily Herald
by Ames Boykin

Rosemont isn’t amused by a judge’s decision that would force the village to pay millions of dollars in taxes.

Peter Rosenthal, Rosemont’s lawyer, said Wednesday the village plans to appeal a decision reached this week to make the village pay an amusement tax to Cook County.

A Cook County judge ordered Rosemont to pay the taxes it has refused to collect since 1997 at its Allstate Arena, Rosemont Theatre and Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. The village owns and operates the venues.

Rosemont has been defiant about the Cook County amusement tax since the law took effect.

Mayor Donald E. Stephens’ reaction Wednesday was no different.

When asked how he felt upon hearing the news after returning from a weeklong trip, the mayor said the judge’s decision should be seen as a beginning to a longer fight.

“I’m sure we’re not at the end of the road on that one,” Stephens said.

Rosemont passed two ordinances exempting itself from the amusement tax. Circuses and sporting teams using Rosemont facilities already pay taxes, but the village doesn't want to tax ticket holders, as the Cook County law requires.

Since the facilities are village-owned, Rosemont officials argue that they shouldn’t have to pay the tax, which other government-run venues don’t pay.

University of Illinois at Chicago, which hosts concerts at its UIC Pavilion, is exempt from the amusement tax as it’s a state-run facility, a spokesman for the university said Wednesday.

The judge wants to set a court date to determine the amount of money Rosemont owes. County officials estimate the total at about $13 million. Cook County also seeks up to $1.5 million in penalties

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