City Council Approves Tax Refund Seizures, Bath Salts Ban

UPDATED 02/15/12 1:31 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — City revenue collectors can now take your state income tax refund if you aren’t paying your parking tickets, now that the City Council has approved the plan.

CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall reports the City Council approved allowing the city to seize income tax refunds for scofflaws who have not paid judgments or parking ticket fines. If your tax return is less than what you owe, the remainder can be taken out of future refunds.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) said at the City Council meeting that he is all for seizing tax refunds from residents with outstanding tickets, but he balks at doing likewise for those who have had city judgments against them – because of criticisms that city administrative hearings are like kangaroo courts.

“This is a good tool in the box – I agree – but not based upon the quicksand that we allow this to go forward at this time,” Fioretti said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he is willing to clean up the hearing process, but meanwhile, deadbeats must pay.

“We will not be in favor of deadbeats and delinquents who have been sitting on the sidelines, putting the burdens on the families in your district and throughout the city of Chicago,” the mayor said.

Intercepting tax refunds could bring in $8 million to $20 million over the next two years.

City officials said Chicago is owed some $400 million in unpaid tickets.

The City Council also gave final approval to a ban on “bath salts,” synthetic stimulants that mimic the effects of cocaine.

The measure will bring heavy fines for any store caught selling the substances.

Bath salts are already illegal statewide, but experts say manufacturers keep tweaking the ingredients to get around the ban, and thus, a citywide ban is necessary.

While labeled as additives for baths, “bath salts” actually contain powerful stimulants such as mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), neither of which have a history of being used as bath products.

The product is actually snorted or smoked, and leads to “elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure; very agitated, very confused patients,” Arthur Kubic of the Illinois Poison Control Center told CBS 2 last year.

In December, the City Council also approved a ban on the sale of synthetic marijuana, which is widely regarded as being far more dangerous than the real thing. Until the ban went into effect, synthetic pot was widely available in convenience stores, gas stations and head shops – labeled as potpourri or herbal incense.

Also at the Wednesday meeting:

The City Council approved a settlement with the family of Arielle Starks, who died of bronchial asthma in 2002 after what her family says were a series of mistakes by paramedics. The ambulance that was transporting Starks, 13, to the hospital got into a crash on the way, and an attorney says a breathing tube was placed in her esophagus instead of her trachea.

• The Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “ChicagoFirst” procurement ordinance, which expands a bidding preference for Chicago-based businesses when it comes to city contracts, and creates an incentive for local manufacturing.

• Aldermen approved the allocation of $3.7 in Tax Increment Financing funds for to help medical research firm Experimur LLC build a 54,000 square-foot building with new lab space, offices and a vivarium at 4045 S. Morgan St. in the Stockyards Industrial Park. Experimur had been located on the Michael Reese Hospital campus before the hospital closed in 2009.

• Tax Increment Financing assistance has also been awarded to Coyote Logistics, which is receiving $2 million for a 65,000 square-foot build-out at the Green Exchange – the old Frederick Cooper lamp factory at 2565 W. Diversey Ave. The transportation consulting firm moved into the building last year and brought 625 jobs, and the build-out will bring 400 more jobs, according to the Mayor’s office.

  • Joe

    Is this what is meant by, “Organized” crime?

    • wrg

      First they seize your tax refund. Then they seize your paycheck, bank account and all your personal assets.

      For your safety, for the children, and for the good of the people of Illinois.

    • Jerry

      Here is a simple online petition to get him recalled, if I were from Chicago I would do it, I feel sorry for you people.

  • InalienableWrights

    Fuk the bath salt tyrants. What’s next mandatory a-hole inspections?

  • TOM K

    Why is there not an investigation from Pam Z about these alleged hearing officers I have never heard how the get there city jobs and also I have never heard of a finding of guikt 99 percent of the time. As a resident of this corrupt city I can assure you that the city has never gotton anything right 99 percent of the time AN INVESTIGATION IS NEEDED

  • Lyndia


  • Jerry

    The Alderman are supposed to be elected officials who represent the people to the Mayor. The Mayor totes these guys like puppets and they have all become enemies of the people. Mayor Emanuel is their master, he is a master of puppets, He walks out of his office looking like AL Capone and sends his puppets out to vote on the next shake down technique.

    I’m glad I don’t live in Chi

    The only thing Chicago’s Alderman can’t seem to agree on is who is going be the next on their knees before their King.

  • Latest Tax Refund News |

    […] City Council Approves Tax Refund Seizures, Bath Salts Ban CHICAGO (CBS) — City revenue collectors can now take your state income tax refund if you aren't paying your parking tickets, now that the City Council has approved the plan. CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall reports the City Council approved … Read more on CBS Local […]

  • juju

    What a city.

  • Chivi

    Go for it!! I know of a family that has put every single car in different family names to avoid paying tickets. They get the maximum amount of tickets and instead of paying they change the title or the plates to another car. Cheaper that way!!

  • Steve Larkin

    Chicago, Illinois – THE MOST CORRUPT CITY IN THE NATION is going to start seizing tax returns for Tickets? I see FAIL weitten all over this. The City that gives people parking tickets THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN DOWNTOWN, will be an epic failure once again as it proves itself a failure over and over again. So when John Smith Jr. racks up 15 or so unpaid parking tickets, they seize John Smith Sr.’s tax return. And then good luck getting anyone to help you straighten out THAT mess. They can’t issue parking citations properly ! Now the Governor is giving THE MOST CORRUPT CITY IN THE NATION access to our tax returns.

    THANK GOD I moved to Indiana, and here’s a prime example of why.

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  • Harlin

    Well now…it’s even worse. I’m a state employee with the DuPage County Public Aid Office. We just got an internal e-mail saying that the City of Chicago now has the authority to garnish wages of state employees who owe tickets to the city. According to that letter, this was done with cooperation with the state’s comptroller’s office. So basically…Springfield is in cahoots (sp?) with the City in regards to taking everything it can get from people. And believe me when I tell you…it first starts in Chicago…it goes statewide really soon.

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