Jerry Moore: Time for tax revolt along Cook County border
People who feel pinched in the pocketbook should put the squeeze on tax-crazy bureaucrats.
The new sales tax rate in Cook County took effect July 1, pushing it an entire percentage point to 9.25 percent. This increase came on the heels of a one-quarter percent sales tax hike in Cook and the collar counties approved by the Illinois General Assembly to help finance mass transportation.
Merchants in west Cook County, particularly those that border DuPage County, have reported that a growing number of customers are expressing concerns about the increased sales tax. Depending on which town you’re shopping in, you could pay at least 10 percent — 10.25 in Chicago — for consumer goods.
In DuPage County, where the sales tax rate is 7.25 percent, I’ve seen some stores close to the Cook County border advertise, “No Cook County sales tax.” In letters to the editor of local newspapers, residents of southwest Cook County also have made known their willingness to travel to Will County to find more affordable items.
It’s not that I want any merchants to be hurt by the horrendous policies of the Cook County government, but residents are wise to look elsewhere to buy goods. It not only will save them money (provided they don’t chew up too much gas traveling to the border town of another county), it’s a way of rewarding more frugal governments and punishing those whose tax plans are out of control.
Shoppers aren’t the only ones frowning upon the foolish fiscal policies that continue to plague Cook County. Fitch Ratings, an international ratings agency, recently revised its outlook for Cook County’s $3 billion debt from “stable” to “negative.”
Financial analysts have said such a move usually is a precursor to the county’s bond rating being lowered, which would increase its costs to borrow money. And guess who would end up paying the bill if that happened?
Here’s an overview of this scenario: To avoid making necessary cuts in spending, Cook County is asking its constituents to fork over more in sales tax. This decision compelled a major ratings firm to take the first step in lowering the county’s bond rating, which will end up costing taxpayers more if the county wants to borrow money. I call that a “lose-lose.”
Merchants in towns bordering Cook County should seize the opportunity to let people know where they can get more for their hard-earned dollars. And business owners in Cook County should raise holy hell in demanding that their elected representatives use taxpayer funds more wisely.
Jerry Moore is a news editor with Suburban Life Publications. He can be contacted at email@example.com.