Chicago already has one of the biggest “rich person” casinos in the world but it is hardly taxed at all. A new CPEG report explores the massive gap between taxation of largely lower and middle-class riverboat gamblers, and the upper-class who do their gambling in the heart of Chicago’s financial district.
In fact, assuming that both rich and poor person casinos in Illinois pass tax costs on to their customers, “traders” at Illinois’ rich-person casinos: Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) owned by the CME, and the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) pay state taxes that are at most equal to 0.000014% of the nominal value traded, more than 200,000 times lower than the 3.2% state tax per dollar wagered by “gamblers” at Illinois’ 10 poor-person riverboat casinos.
Read the full CPEG report (PDF)
Chicago’s next Mayor confronts economic stagnation, unemployment, and budget and pension shortfalls. The lack of good jobs, the root of neighborhood economic and social dislocation, cannot be addressed through more or better policing, education, or additional human services, needed as they are. Overcoming 26 years of neoliberal policy under the Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emmanuel administrations requires a program to create jobs and shore up pensions, as well as the City’s budget. This effort will require new taxes and other funding measures.
A new CPEG report, Restoring Chicago’s Fiscal and Economic Health, offers a range of options for raising revenue, essential to reversing years of increasing inequality, poverty and middle class decline in Chicago and across the Midwest.
Download Restoring Chicago’s Fiscal and Economic Health> (PDF)
A financial transaction tax (FTT), also called a “Robin Hood Tax” (RHT), is a very small tax on the trading (buying/selling) of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, currencies and derivatives (futures and options) based on these assets. Essentially a sales tax, such as when we buy/sell shoes or computers.
At a time of unparalleled economic inequality, there has been a renewed interest in such a tax, particularly on large exchanges such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). CPEG’s Bill Barclay, who previously appeared on Fox Business News to argue for the proposal, recently authored a helpful question and answer piece about what a “Robin Hood Tax” would look like for Illinois. Download the Financial Transaction Tax Q&A.
This article, authored by CPEG’s Ron Baiman, originally appeared on the Dollars and Sense; Real World Economics blog in December 2013.
Having boxed themselves into a political dead-end by adopting the austerity agenda of the business community as represented by the Illinois “Civic Federation,” Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Illinois and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn on Tuesday, Dec. 3, rammed through a state Pension cutting bill that would reportedly reduce the state’s $ 100 B unfunded pension liability by $160 B. The Democratic President of the Senate, John Cullerton (a supporter of a Senate bill negotiated with the unions that would have cut less and given workers a choice of options), voted for the House bill, but warned it had “serious constitutional problems” and was reportedly silent during the debate, not present when the final deal was announced and a no-show at an earlier meeting attended by the three other legislative leaders. As is documented below, Cullerton’s concerns are well-founded as this bill presumes that $160 B of pension liability reductions are somehow equivalent to a roughly $26 B cut in the value of pension contributions from state workers.
Though payroll jobs (establishment survey) increased by 204,000 in October, overall employment (household survey) declined by 735,000, indicating that the U.S. employment situation remains dismal. More telling, long-term employment (of 27 weeks or more) remains at 4.1 million, approximately double the level of prior recessions. The Official Unemployment rate also remained essentially unchanged, increasing slightly from 7.2% to 7.3%. The more accurate U-6 unemployment rate which takes into account discouraged workers and workers working part-time who would like full-time work also rose from 13.6% to 13.8% in October.