Chicago Parking Tax: City Council OKs Plan To Levy Higher Tax On The Priciest Parking Rates

04/09/2013 01:54 pm ET

Parking around downtown Chicago is known to be something of a hassle and really pricey — and one of the two is about to get worse.

Monday, the City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to move downtown parking rates off a flat-tax structure and to one hotels and other high-priced parking providers argue is a bruising new fee.

Under the current structure, the majority of drivers pay a flat $5 parking tax on daily rates when they use garages in the city; the exceptions are (super rare) daily rates of less than $12, or weekends, when the tax for parking spots $12 and up is three bucks rather than five.

City Budget Director Alexandra Holt said, under the new tax structure, drivers would instead pay a fixed percentage of the parking cost, CBS Chicago reports. Weekday parking will be taxed at 20 percent while weekend would be 18 percent.

“If you’re going to park in a premium service — let’s say you decide to go to O’Hare and you’re going to pay $50 for the valet parking at O’Hare — you’re going to pay a higher rate than you do now,” Holt said.

The news was a blow to the hotel industry, with Marc Gordon, president and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association telling the Sun-Times the change will have a "severe impact on our hotels and the overnight guests who stay there."

Gordon told the paper 18 percent of the people who stay in Chicago hotels drive to the city and park overnight. They pay an average overnight parking fee of $42.31. High-end hotels charge $50-a-night.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), whose ward includes most of downtown, told the Tribune via email he was "100 percent opposed" to the proposed parking tax structure. Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), meanwhile, was less sympathetic.

"I just think that the amounts I've seen at some of these hotels are just ridiculous," Ervin said.

After the City Council's Finance Committee endorsed the plan Monday, the full City Council is slated to vote on it Wednesday.

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