Killing Downtown Chicago with Reinstatement of Extra Parking Tax

Included in the 1974 Regional Transportation Authority legislation was a 15% parking tax.

The logic advanced was that it would encourage people coming Downtown to use mass transportation.

Social engineering at work.

The problem, however, is that lots of people from the suburbs had other places that State Street to go shopping.

So add to the cost of parking and a trip to Chicago became less desirable.

The stores started closing

State Street was turned into a two-lane street.

“We’ll make it look like a suburban mall,” seemed to be the reasoning.

That didn’t work.

The millions spent to narrow State Street to two mainly bus lanes, thus preventing the relatively free flow of traffic, was undone.

As the ciost of parking gets higher in Chicago, fewer people will drive downtown. I think I learned that concept in my first economics course.

The RTA parking tax was repealed about the time the 5% RTA gasoline tax bit the dust.  (That RTA gas tax was another bit of social engineering included in the RTA Act.)

Now Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, having no idea that the idea of hiking parking taxes had negative effects on Chicago’s Loop in the past, is going to impose another parking tax.

Chicago Tribune cartoonist Scott Stantis, being new to town, doesn’t know about the RTA parking tax either, but a couple of weeks ago he came up with a delightful editorial campaign.

It has a depiction of a parking lot gate.

Upon the barrier sits the new Chicago Mayor with a big sledge hammer with the words “TAX IT” on the mallet.

He’s saying, “‘Cause I can.”

Know what, Mayor?

‘Cause we can find pretty much everything we want outside of Chicago, we can, too.


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