Rahm to Raise Chicago City Tax on Cable TV to Pay for Movies in the Park

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to raise the city amusement tax for cable television customers. The tax hike will go toward enhanced cultural programming and to make a minuscule dent in the city’s whopping $369 million operating deficit, according to CBS Chicago.

CBS also reports, “At least some of the money will be used to bolster ‘Night Out in the Park,’ which brings concerts, circuses, movies, and dance programs to Chicago’s neighborhood parks.”

The city has a two-tiered amusement tax. Mid-sized venues are charged five percent and large sporting events are charged nine percent. Cable customers currently receive a five percent exemption, which will now be cut to three percent, increasing the amusement tax they pay from four percent to six percent, for an estimated $9 million in revenue.

City Hall insists the increase on taxpayers’ cable bills will only be a few dollars a month, according to the Sun-Times.

Chicago faces a $1 billion dollar deficit by the year 2015, and the city’s bond rating received an unprecedented triple downgrade from Moody’s S&P over the summer.

Over 2,400 city employees are paid more than $100,000 annually, totaling $276,097,550 of the city’s overall $2.4 billion payroll (not including teachers). The city is currently installing over 650 miles of protected bike lanes for $91 million and unveiled a new “Divvy” bike-share program this summer at a cost of $22 million to taxpayers.

The city of Chicago closed 50 public schools in mostly black neighborhoods earlier this year which it “could not afford” to keep open.

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