CHICAGO (CBS) – Did you get a break on your property taxes this year? Probably not. But the big box retailer, Costco, could be getting a big break on their property taxes in Chicago. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports that some homeowners are exactly cheering that.
There are Christmas trees from 87 different countries on display at the Cook County Treasurer’s office. But the mood, as people showed up to pay their property taxes, was hardly festive.
One called the experience, “very painful.”
The word was out. Mayor Daley is proposing to grant a $1 million property tax break to convince the Costco corporation to build a new warehouse store on what is now a 16-acre empty lot at 14th and Ashland.
According to the mayor, “The planned development will reactivate vacant land, bring 125 full-time jobs, 125 part-time jobs to the city, as well as create an estimated 600 jobs during the construction phase.”
To taxpayer Alyson Arnold, a concierge, those details sound pretty good.
“If it’ll bring some jobs to the city and some fresh food to areas that might not necessarily have it, that would be good,” she said.
But that $1 million property tax break for Costco sounds unfair to taxpayer Sergo Lombardi.
“Everybody has a break,” he said, “but not me, not us.”
Cathy Young says her taxes doubled this year.
As for the Costco proposed break, “that don’t make no sense at all,” she said. “I need a break.”
Young says she’s not sure she can pay her tax bill this year. The mayor, she says, “should be helping people in the ghetto.”
Teacher Ayodeji Griffin says if the corporate break means her taxes will go up, it’s “not a good thing.”
But taxpayer and homeowner Judith Ezzeraimi believes, “If you’re giving away money to companies, everybody else’s taxes are going up. Everybody knows that the corporations are given a lot of breaks in Chicago.”
She says she doesn’t like that.
The city says the million dollar tax break would extend over 12 years but that the new Costco store would be generating $27 million in sales tax revenues at the same time.
Between the added jobs and the sales tax, the city believes this is a good deal. It must be approved by the City Council.