Return of the Parking Tax

Part of the 1974 Regional Transportation Authority deal was an RTA parking tax.

During the contentious debate prior to the RTA referendum’s bare passage, State Rep. Donald Deuster used the parking tax to bludgeon proponents.

He went to far (too far I thought) as to avow that it would be levied on church parking lots.

This time around, the tax is more specific, as the following article from The Center Square points out:

Illinois’ new parking tax takes effect Jan. 1; critics say it will cost jobs

To help generate $45 billion in new revenue for the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan, the state will start taxing parking businesses on Jan. 1. 

The tax will be 6 percent of the parking rate for hourly, daily or weekly parking.

The tax rate will be 9 percent on monthly or yearly parking spaces.

The new monthly revenue will then be used to pay for general expenses with the infrastructure plan.

Because the tax doesn’t qualify as a transportation tax, it doesn’t have the restrictions of the constitutional “Lockbox Amendment” and can be spent on dozens of member-initiated projects. 

“Those who operate parking lots or garages will need to make sure they are properly registered with the state by January 1st,” Illinois Department of Revenue Acting Director David Harris said.

“Revenue from this new program will go to rebuilding our state’s infrastructure and building a stronger economy. It is this department’s duty to help achieve compliance, so all taxpayers are treated fairly and consistently.”

The measure is not likely to affect many drivers in Illinois, but it drew criticism from the parking lot operators’ union in Chicago, as it would be heaped on top of the city’s rates. 

“The math is simple: When workers find it too expensive to commute to the city, businesses move out. When individuals find parking prohibitively expensive, they do their shopping elsewhere. Less employers plus fewer customers means less tax revenue and fewer jobs,” said John Coli, Jr., secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. [Emphasis added.]

“The impact of a new state parking tax will stifle economic development in Chicago and impact all of Illinois. It will hurt workers and it will hurt businesses. We must find a better way.”

The Teamsters union said the combined tax rate for Chicago-based parking lots will see a cumulative 32 percent to 40 percent tax, higher than any other major city. 

The tax will also apply to valet services, whether they charge or offer the service to customers for free. 

Some consider a consumption-based tax such as the new parking tax as the most equitable type of taxation. 

“Such taxes are an appropriate source of revenue for local governments and public entities such as port districts and business improvement associations; they impose costs on property owners and motorists in specific areas and so can be considered a fair way to finance local transport services,” Todd Litman wrote in a 2006 paper for the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

The parking tax has a number of exemptions, including for municipalities that own and operate their own parking lots. Municipal parking by Metra stations, for instance, are exempt. Renters who receive a parking spot with their lease, others who rent out less than three spaces, also are exempt.

= = = = =

Along with the five percent RTA gas tax the RTA parking tax was eventually repealed at the request of Downtown Chicago merchants. It appears that this special interest has less influence now or an insufficiently long institutional memory to realize the disincentive parking taxes have on suburbanites who might otherwise drive Downtown.

Rep. Deuster died at age 69 in 1999. The obituary I read did not mention his service at Congressman Robert C. McClory’s district assistant. He was the best at this job I have ever seen.


Return of the Parking Tax — 12 Comments

  1. Except for a job, why would ANY suburbanite ever drive to downtown Chicago? The suburbs have everything a person could need or want and the parking is most usually free.

  2. “the parking is most usually free”. I love when compassionate conservative republikkklans enjoy free stuff. Once a charlatan, always a charlatan. Stay tuned…tic, tock, tic, tock, 315 days, tic, tock, tic, tock, meeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww…

  3. How about taxing illegal aliens, there’s enough of them!

  4. Tax tax tax.

    When property values turn to shit in your town, what will you do?

    Peoria, Illinois

    Median list price: $124,450

    2-year price change: -15.9%

    Percentage of underwater mortgages: 21%

    Foreclosures: 1 in every 932 homes

    Peoria claims the No. 1 spot among cities with real estate markets that are turning ugly for several reasons.

    This city in central Illinois has seen the biggest drop in home prices over the past two years of any city on this list.

    The average number of days houses are on the market and the percentage of homes for sale with price cuts are higher than the national averages.

    The percentage of underwater mortgages here is more than double the percentage nationwide.

  5. Sure seems that the illegal aliens in Illinois enjoy the free stuff.

    Many do gooder groups help them get the free ride.

    Sanctuary state, a disgrace.

  6. #9- Aurora, Illinois

    Median list price: $220,000

    2-year price change: 4.7%

    Percentage of underwater mortgages: 11.8%

    Foreclosures: 1 in every 1,491 homes

    This Chicago suburb is actually the second-largest city in Illinois.

    Its current housing market is showing signs of trouble, though.

    Aurora has the fourth-highest percentage of homes with price cuts at 23.7%.

    And the foreclosure rate and percentage of underwater mortgages are higher than the U.S. averages.


    They believe that they can tax their way out of debt,
    and that says it all.

  8. ** Except for a job, why would ANY suburbanite ever drive to downtown Chicago? The suburbs have everything a person could need or want and the parking is most usually free.**

    You definitely need to get out more.

  9. “Except for a job, why would ANY suburbanite ever drive to downtown Chicago?

    The suburbs have everything a person could need or want and the parking is most usually free.

    Seriously-Culture, Museums, Professional Sports, Restaurants, Nightlife all better in the city

  10. Most Illinoisans do not own cars.

    Tax the haves for the have nots!

  11. UnderwoodNow = you are truly wacky. The assumption that most people don’t have cars is inaccurate.

    ***Many people in Chicago don’t have cars because there is limited parking and they commute.

    Get your facts straight!

    According to Data USA:

    “The homeownership rate in Illinois is 66.2%, which is higher than the national average of 63.9%. People in Illinois have an average commute time of 27.7 minutes, and they commute by Drove Alone. Car ownership in Illinois is approximately the same as the national average, with an average of 2 cars per household”

    Further, your statement “Tax the have for the have nots!” is one more reason why Lauren Underwood must be removed from officer. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Underwood family.

    UnderwoodNow = Black Supremacist!

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