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Statement Regarding Proposed Cook County and Chicago Tax and Fee Increases
Colleen McShane, President, Illinois Restaurant Association
October 30, 2003

The Illinois Restaurant Association is staunchly opposed to any increase in the sales tax in both Cook County and the city of Chicago. With the combined proposed sales tax increases of both President Stroger and Mayor Daley, restaurants in the Chicagoland area could see taxes as high as 10.50% -- the highest of any major city in the country.

In addition to struggling to rebound after the crisis of September 11th, restaurants are already feeling the pressures of the increase in the state’s minimum wage, higher real estate taxes, worker’s compensation & insurance costs, increased permit and regulatory fees, and escalating healthcare costs. And this does not even include the higher waste removal fees as a result of the recent strike.

While we can fully understand the difficulties facing the county and the city regarding their fiscal responsibilities, increasing taxes and fees on the restaurant industry—that is one of the only industries providing jobs and some stability to our faltering economy—is simply not the way go. We urge our elected officials not to impede this momentum or discourage the entrepreneurial spirit found in our industry with the highest sales tax in the nation and increased operational fees.

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