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Council Simplifies Garage Tax, Rich Tourists to Pay More

By Ted Cox | April 10, 2013 3:13pm
 Downtown parking garages.
Downtown parking garages.
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DNAinfo/Michelle Gavin (File)

CITY HALL — In a battle of Maseratis against the Ford Taurus, the City Council sided with Ford.

The council Wednesday passed a flat tax rate on garage parking, making it 20 percent on weekdays and 18 percent on weekends. As of July 1, that replaces the current sliding scale that topped out at $5 on a $12 parking fee.

Budget Director Alexandra Holt maintained the difference was revenue-neutral to the city and simply simplified the process. Downtown Aldermen Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Bob Fioretti (2nd) insisted it would hurt downtown hotel guests particularly with overnight parking and, in the end, city tourism efforts.

Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st) said it basically came down to a Maserati driver willing to pay more against an everyday Ford Taurus driver who will pay less. He said the shift would primarily affect "people can afford to pay the most."

Aldermen Scott Waguespack (32nd), Mary O'Connor (41st), Michael Chandler (24th) and John Arena (45th) joined Reilly and Waguespack in voting against the tax shift, but none spoke out against it on the floor.