CHICAGO (CBS) — The head of the Chicago’s official tourism agency has warned a planned Cook County hotel tax could hurt the city’s convention industry, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel seemed less concerned.
Choose Chicago CEO Don Welsh told Crain’s Chicago Business earlier this week that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s plan for a 1 percent tax on hotel rooms “is the last thing we need” when competing with other big cities for conventions and tourism.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Second Sunday Night Tornado Confirmed; Cool And Clear Monday Night
However, Emanuel pointed to next year’s Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival and this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial, both of which draw people to the city, and said people want to come to Chicago.READ MORE: Video Of Gruesome Humboldt Park Shooting From CPD POD Camera Was Made Public Without City's Permission, CBS 2 Has Learned
“We have a strategy to continue to put Chicago’s visitor and tourism hotel industry – which is a big economic engine – front and center,” the mayor said.
Emanuel said the city has a lot of strengths, and while he didn’t say anything about Preckwinkle’s proposed county hotel tax, he avoided the opportunity to criticize it.MORE NEWS: LIVE UPDATES: 130 Homes Damaged In Tornado In West, Southwest Suburbs As Dangerous Storms Hit Chicago Area Sunday Night
Hotels in Chicago already are taxed at an overall rate of 16.4 percent, with the revenue going to the city, the state, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.