Cook County Board Unanimously Passes Repeal of County Wheel Tax

Cook County Board Unanimously Passes Repeal of County Wheel Tax
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Cook County Board Unanimously Passes Repeal of County Wheel Tax (Cook County, IL) – On Thursday, September 22nd, the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed the Wheel Tax Elimination Ordinance, which will permanently end the County’s vehicle registration fines and fees. The ordinance, authored by Commissioner Kevin Morrison, will create new savings for working families by reducing the costs of owning and operating a vehicle in unincorporated Cook County.

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Prairie State College

“This is a common sense approach to addressing inequity, eliminating a tax that is far too often punitive.  Cars are a necessity for so many people in our county to get to work, to get to community services, to receive health care, and much more,” said Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar.  “This is a regressive tax, plain and simple, one that hurts our residents more than any justification to keep it.  I applaud Commissioner Kevin Morrison for authoring this ordinance, and stand with my colleagues on the Board to continue delivering relief and support for all of our residents.”

Cook County Bureau of Finance

The Cook County Bureau of Finance estimates that around 8,000 staff hours dedicated to administering the tax can be redirected to other services. In addition, they estimate that the revenue lost from eliminating the tax will be partially offset by savings on administrative costs and new county revenues. In terms of impact to the County’s overall budget, revenues from the wheel tax constitute less than half of a percent of the more than $8 billion budget. The lost revenue from eliminating this tax is negligible in comparison to the cost savings to individual families.

“The Cook County Wheel Tax is regressive and unnecessary. And it disproportionately impacts the Black and Brown residents of Cook County who can least afford to pay it,” said President Preckwinkle. “The resources we spend enforcing it outweigh its gains, and we’re proud that we can give the taxpayers some of their hard-earned money back.”

This ordinance is supported by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, who, in a report authored in 2021, highlighted the impact of transportation fees and fines on low-income Cook County residents.

“The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) supports action to reduce the financial burden of transportation revenues on underserved and disadvantaged residents across northeastern Illinois,” said Executive Director Erin Aleman. “These steps must be balanced with the need to avoid reducing investments in the transportation system and to improve lower-cost mobility options. We look forward to working with the County to identify ways to better utilize equitable user fees to ensure the sustainability of our regional transit system.”

The Ordinance shall take effect starting on June 30, 2023.

Cook County Board Unanimously Passes Repeal of County Wheel Tax

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Monica Gordon for Cook County Commissioner

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