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Chicago-area officials propose higher taxes on restaurant sales

CHICAGO Officials of Chicago and surrounding Cook County have proposed raising sales taxes on restaurant meals as a way of closing expected budget deficits. The proposals include a suggestion from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley that the city double its meal tax, to 0.5 percent of sales.

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has suggested raising the county sales tax across all goods and services by 2 percent, but the board delayed a vote after it appeared the proposal would not pass, according to media reports.

The Illinois Restaurant Association opposes both proposals. The current sales tax on restaurant meals in Chicago varies from 9.25 percent to 10.25 percent, depending on location. Restaurants located within a certain radius from McCormick Place pay a higher tax to help finance the convention center’s expansion.

Daley has said the city needs to fill a budget gap of $193 million, while Stroger said the county budget is $307 million short.

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