Aldermen Back Plan To Adjust Parking Garage Tax Rates

CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen have given a preliminary green light to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed new parking tax rates.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the higher taxes would mean some motorists would pay more to park at Chicago garages, while some would end up paying less.

Currently, most drivers pay a flat $5 parking tax when they use garages in the city, regardless of how much the garage charges for parking.

City Budget Director Alexandra Holt said, under the new tax structure, people would pay a fixed percentage of the parking cost. Weekday parking would carry a 20 percent parking tax; weekend parking would have an 18 percent rate.

Currently, the $5 flat parking fee applies to parking rates of as little as $12, and as high as $125 for weekly parking or $600 for monthly parking.

“If you’re going to park in a premium service – let’s say you decide to go to O’Hare and you’re going to pay $50 for the valet parking at O’Hare – you’re going to pay a higher rate than you do now,” she said.

People who pay less by taking advantage of Early Bird parking specials or other discounts would pay less than they do now.

Mark Gordon, president and CEO of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, said tourists who park at Chicago hotels would be adversely affected by the new tax rates.

“We feel that with the percentage, that it has a severe effect on the hotels and the overnight guests who stay there,” Gordon said.

Holt said most Chicago hotels that charge for parking have a premium rate of $50 for overnight parking.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) suggested hotels could reduce their parking rates to save their customers money.

The City Council Finance Committee has endorsed the parking tax plan, and the full City Council could vote on it Wednesday.

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