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Dueling Rebate Programs Proposed to Lessen Blow of Tax Hike

By Paul Biasco | September 21, 2015 8:33am
 Ald. Proco Joe Moreno speaks about the city's budget during a meeting Bang Bang Pie Shop Wednesday night.
Ald. Proco Joe Moreno speaks about the city's budget during a meeting Bang Bang Pie Shop Wednesday night.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

LOGAN SQUARE — There are now two groups of aldermen pushing for a tax rebate that would give relief to Chicago homeowners if the mayor's proposed $500 million tax hike passes the City Council.

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st) announced his plan two weeks ago to propose rebate checks for homeowners who make less than $100,000 a year if the tax hike passes.

Last week Moreno announced that five other city aldermen were on board with his plan.

The 11-member Progressive Caucus is set to announce its own rebate plan Monday afternoon. It calls for a greater rebate than Moreno's proposal and includes specifics such as where the funds would come from and what the penalties would be for those who fraud the system.

"They both provide for rebates, but they are very different," said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) in an interview with DNAinfo Chicago.

Ramirez-Rosa said under the Progressive Caucus's plan, a median income worker with a home valued at $250,000 would see a rebate of $400.

Only those families with a gross income that is less than or equal to 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for the Progressive Caucus's proposal. For a single individual living alone, that income level is $47,080 and for a family of two is $63,720.

"It's clear that there’s support in the City Council for a rebate," Ramirez-Rosa said. "When you see multiple proposals, multiple approaches, that’s a good thing. This is a conversation we need to be having.”

Under Moreno's proposal, owners of a similarly priced home with a combined income of $50,000 would receive a rebate for $236. The lower a homeowner's income, the greater the rebate.

"Although it's not the best option, it does give some relief," Moreno said during a community meeting to discuss the budget with constituents Wednesday night.

Moreno discussed his plan during a meeting with the Greater Goethe Neighborhood Association last week. He also discussed his opposition to a tax on trash that has been proposed as a revenue source.

Moreno, instead, said he would rather the city implement a trash tax similar to Boston's "pay as you throw" program, which requires residents to purchase blue trash bags for all trash at local stores. A 33-gallon bag goes for $1.75 in Boston and a 15-gallon kitchen-sized bag goes for $1.

The grocery store takes a small cut of that, but the majority goes to the city.

"If we are going to talk about taxing garbage, that's a better way to do it," Moreno said. 

He called the current garbage tax proposal a "disaster."

The mayor's budget proposal's possible garbage tax fee would be no more than $11 a month, according to reports.

The tax would raise about $70 million a year, according to the Tribune.

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