Parking in a Chicago garage or lot will be more costly for drivers who pay premium rates, but those who find deals would pay less under a measure Mayor
The idea is to switch city parking taxes from a complicated escalating fee to a percentage-based system. The daily weekday city tax for parking in a Chicago lot or garage is $5 if the garage fee is $12 or more. Taxes on weekly rates max out at $25, and on monthly rates at $120. Under the new system, taxes would be charged at a rate of 20 percent across the board for weekday parking.
So drivers who pay more than $25 to park on a weekday, $125 for a week or $600 a month stand to pay more than they do now. But those who pay less than those amounts would save money.
A few examples to illustrate how the changes would impact parkers:
*A driver with a $30 weekday parking tab now pays $5 in tax on top of that. Under the new system, they would pay $6, an increase of $1.
*Someone with a $150 weekly parking bill now pays $25 in tax. With the flat fee, they would pay $30 in tax, a $5 increase.
*A driver who scores a $12 daily early bird special now pays $5 in tax on weekdays. The new system would see them pay $2.40 in tax, a savings of $2.60.
Under the new system, the Saturday and Sunday parking rates would be 18 percent. Maximum weekend tax rates now are $3. People who pay up to $2 a day any day of the week, $10 a week or $40 a month are not taxed and still wouldn't be under the new system.
"In general, tax rates for motorists and tourists who choose cheaper or economy parking will likely go down, and tax rates for more expensive or premium parking will increase," said Kathleen Strand, a city finance spokeswoman.
The city would continue to collect about $122 million a year in parking taxes, Strand said. Using city parking data, "we selected the percentage that will ensure the revenue stream remains flat," she said.
Cook County is making plans for a similar change, a spokesman for Board President
Parking garage and lot owners requested the change to simplify a complicated system that confused motorists and made record keeping, accounting and auditing more difficult for lot owners and city, said Monica Metzler, spokeswoman for the Parking Industry Labor Management Committee.
"It's not about changing the tax," said Metzler, noting that owners opposed a weekday parking tax increase imposed under Emanuel in 2012. "It's about changing the system."
The proposed parking tax rate alterations weren’t the only changes offered up Wednesday for city vehicle taxes. Clerk
Under the new system, which would start in 2014, vehicle stickers would expire six months after license plate registrations. Costs would be pro-rated the year of the system changeover so no one ends up paying more than they do now, Mendoza said.
The idea is to make sticker purchases easier on both the clerk's office and vehicle owners by eliminating the one-month rush during June of every year — which Mendoza described as an antiquated system in place since 1908 when stickers were first sold.
"When people ask, 'why do we do this way,' and they say, 'because we've always done it that way,' in this case that's literally true," Mendoza said.