Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan to combat homelessness by raising taxes on real estate transfers will be put to a vote by Chicago voters in March 2024.
The “Bring Chicago Home” measure, which was approved by the Chicago City Council, aims to shift the flat tax rate to a three-tiered system.
Under this system, owners of properties below $1 million will actually see lower tax rates, while owners of properties between $1 million and $1.5 million and properties above $1.5 million will see their tax rates increase.
Advocates of the initiative believe it will alleviate burdens on property owners and smaller multifamily buildings while also addressing the city’s rising homeless population.
Mayor Johnson expressed confidence in the initiative, stating, “I am confident that the people of Chicago are going to say yes…my confidence is as strong as the people who sent me to do the work.”
He believes that voters will support the initiative in March.
The referendum will ask voters to approve the tiered tax strategy, which will generate revenue for addressing homelessness and providing permanent affordable housing in Chicago. The real estate industry is expected to oppose the measure, citing concerns about its impact on the market and increased costs for tenants.
However, the council decided that voters should have a say in the matter.
The Chicago City Council’s approval of the measure is a significant victory for Mayor Johnson’s administration, especially considering the recent fallout with one of his allies on the council.
The mayor cast the tiebreaking vote to not censure Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who allegedly blocked another alderwoman from entering the chambers during a vote on a proposal regarding Chicago’s sanctuary city status.
Overall, the “Bring Chicago Home” measure will now be decided by the voters in March, determining whether this tax increase to fight homelessness becomes law.
Why It Matters
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan to combat homelessness through a tax increase on real estate transfers is a concerning proposal that will have far-reaching consequences for property owners and the housing market.
While the initiative claims to alleviate burdens on property owners, it fails to consider the negative impact it will have on the real estate industry and tenants.
By implementing a three-tiered tax system, this measure unfairly targets property owners with higher-valued properties, punishing their success and discouraging investment in the city. It also ignores the fact that raising taxes on real estate transfers will inevitably lead to increased costs for tenants, further burdening Chicagoans already struggling to make ends meet.
Furthermore, the decision to put this measure to a vote by the people undermines the expertise and knowledge of the real estate industry. The market should be left to operate freely, without unnecessary government intervention.
Instead of relying on tax increases, the city should explore alternative solutions to address homelessness, such as partnering with private organizations or implementing targeted assistance programs. It is crucial that Chicago voters carefully consider the long-term implications of this measure and reject it in March.
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