Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today a modification to the proposed Buy Local Tax, which incentivizes businesses and residents to buy goods in Cook County by increasing the exemption from $2,500 to $3,500 in annual purchases.
The change will provide businesses and residents more leeway to purchase goods throughout the year. President Preckwinkle made the decision after hearing from members of the Board of Commissioners, as well as a number of Cook County businesses and residents.
“We want to encourage businesses to buy within Cook County. Today we are sending a clear message that County Government is making it easier for local business to thrive in our communities, expand their operations and hire new workers,” President Preckwinkle said. “Compromise and consensus have been my top priorities throughout the budget process. The economic policies in this year’s budget will help make Cook County a more vibrant economic hub in the region for years to come. ”
The 2013 Budget includes a proposed 1.25% use tax on non-titled property. The tax is on a set of goods bought outside of Cook County, but used in the county. The ‘Buy Local Tax’ seeks to aid local businesses by closing a loophole that allows those who go outside the County to purchase personal property and avoid paying County taxes.
“By leveling the playing field for businesses trying to grow and thrive in Cook County, the Buy Local Tax will help drive competition and encourage new opportunities for companies located here,” said John W. Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments and a co-chair of President Preckwinkle’s Council of Economic Advisors.
“We want people to buy their products from Cook County businesses,” said Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski (16th District). “The county is projecting about $14 million from the use tax next year. That translates to goods valued at more than $1.1 billion being purchased outside of Cook County, but being brought here for use. If businesses and individuals bought those goods inside Cook County, they’d save more than $5 million and we’d benefit from all the related economic activity.”
President Preckwinkle also will seek to enhance her administration’s commitment to small and local businesses by increasing the County’s Local Business Preference, an incentive aimed at increasing opportunities for local businesses with a majority of their workforce in Cook County that do business with the County. The local business preference will be increased to five percent from two percent for the goods and services the county buys. This change is intended to help strengthen the local economy, increase the level of investment in the community and promote job growth.
The 2013 Budget also contains the final .25% rollback of the Stroger Sales Tax Increase which will take effect January 1, 2013. This tax cut saves County residents $86 million in 2013, and $440 million overall since the rollback began in 2010. This tax cut fulfills the President’s pledge to the businesses and residents of Cook County.