The tax man will come a-calling for suburbanites working in the city of Chicago if one community group has its way.
The labor-community coalition Grassroots Collaborative has renewed calls for non-Chicago residents making their living in the city to pay a "commuter tax."
According to the group's just-published study, "Downtown Prosperity, Neighborhood Neglect: Chicago’s Black and Latino Workers Left Behind," Chicago taxpayers have subsidized some $1.2 billion in job creation and job relocation (via sources like TIF money and property taxes). Meanwhile, the study argues the benefits have disproportionately been sucked up by non-residents.
"From 2002 to 2011, downtown economic activity brought a net gain of 52,404 jobs to downtown Chicago. However, only 1 of 4 of those new jobs was filled by a Chicago resident," the study claims.
(Read the full report)
"So our Chicago taxpayers are paying for these jobs to be created yet aren't getting direct benefit," Grassroots Collaborative executive director Amisha Patel told ABC Chicago.
Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) expressed support for the idea while Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) pushed back. Mayor Rahm Emanuel told ABC he was squarely against a commuter tax calling it "the wrong way to go."
Levying a commuter tax on non-residents is hardly a new idea, and one that regularly resurfaces around the time new budgets are drawn up.
In 2011, the city's Inspector General Joe Ferguson laid out the pros and cons as he championed a commuter tax he argued could generate roughly $300 million in annual tax revenue.
The Sun-Times threw cold water on the idea two years ago noting that, according to state law, any such tax would first need approval from the Illinois General Assembly -- and any legislator outside of the city of Chicago would be unlikely to vote for a law that would permit a new tax on their constituents.
In Detroit, the opposite problem persists with many city-dwellers working in the suburbs failing to pay the city income tax.
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Sliced Bagel Tax
You might want to think twice about getting that schmear. In New York City, bagels that are sliced or prepared are subject to sales tax, whereas whole bagels are not, <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704340504575448033463314628.html">according to</a> the Wall Street Journal.
If you live in Durham, North Carolina, you could be <a href="http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/2011/01/03/americas-most-bizarre-taxes/">paying a tax on Rover</a>. The state charges a $10 tax for neutered and spayed pets and $75 for pets that are not neutered or spayed, according to Turbo Tax.
In Illinois, all <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/thomson-reuters-reports-2012-quirky-tax-laws-2013-01-28">candies are subject to an extra tax</a>, unless they contain flour, like the Whopper pictured here.
Elderly Tax Exemption
By the time you're 100, <a href="http://www.efile.com/unusual-strange-funny-taxes-throughout-the-world-and-history/">you've paid enough in taxes</a>, at least according to the state of New Mexico, where people over 100 years old are tax-exempt.
If it's yellow, let it mellow could be the motto of some Maryland and Virginia residents looking to save money. In these two states there's a <a href="http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/2-minute-tax-tips-weird-taxes/1zyohv7aj?from=gallery_en-us&cpkey=626b3129-89f2-5b5b-1fb7-b9a5bfa67758%257c%257c%257c%257c">tax on flushing the toilet</a>, according to Bing.
Tennessee <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6861075">anonymously collects a tax on illegal drugs</a>, according to NPR. In 2006, the state collected $1.5 million from the tax.
Adult diapers <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/thomson-reuters-reports-2012-quirky-tax-laws-2013-01-28">are exempt from sales tax in Connecticut</a>, but if you're buying diapers for your kids you'll have to pay taxes on those, according to Thomson Reuters.
Colorado levies a tax on <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-5-weirdest-sales-taxes-we-could-find-2012-1">"non essential" food packaging</a> items, according to Business Insider. That means you'll pay a tax on paper cup lids and napkins, but not on paper cups themselves.
Businesses in Utah that employ nude or partly nude workers are required to pay a <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/the-10-strangest-state-taxes/11">10 percent sales tax</a>, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Card Deck Tax
If you buy cards in Alabama you'll <a href="http://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/General-Tax-Tips/7-Crazy-Taxes-from-the-US-and-Abroad/INF12163.html">pay a 10 cent tax</a> on the deck, according to Turbo Tax. Meanwhile, Nevada gives free decks in exchange for completed returns.
Holiday Decorations Tax
In Texas, holiday-themed pictures that are <a href="http://www.efile.com/unusual-strange-funny-taxes-throughout-the-world-and-history/">meant to be placed on walls</a> are taxed, according to efile.com.
In Arkansas, there's a <a href="http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/2011/01/03/americas-most-bizarre-taxes/">6 percent sales tax on tattoos</a>, according to Turbo Tax.
New York has <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/strangest-taxes-50-states/story?id=16089204&page=2">a tax on litigation</a>, according to ABC News.
Hot Air Balloon Tax
In Kansas, you have to pay <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/strangest-taxes-50-states/story?id=16089204&page=2">taxes on that hot air balloon</a> ride -- or risk flying away. In that state tethered balloons are taxed, but those that roam free are not because they are considered a legitimate form of transportation, according to ABC.
Fresh Fruit Vending Machine Tax
Another reason not to buy your fruit from a vending machine. Fresh fruit is exempt from sales tax in California, unless <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/the-10-strangest-state-taxes/5">it's sold from a vending machine</a>, according to U.S. News and World Report.