July 27, 2011

Roper will offer insights on city’s head tax, ‘unitary business group’ ordinances

CHICAGO–July 27, 2011–Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gerald Roper will offer testimony today at a 10 a.m. hearing in front of the city’s Joint-Committee on Finance and Economic Development. He is expected to comment on the need to remove a financial burden from the hands of employers who sign the paychecks of Chicago’s workers and focus on job growth as a means to fuel the vitality of our great city.


Roper is expected to comment on two separate proposed ordinances. The first ordinance would phase out the employers’ expense tax or head tax over a four-year period beginning on Jan. 1, 2012. The second ordinance would clarify the Chicago Department of Revenue use of unitary business group designation to enforce the head tax against one or more related companies. The unitary business group concept requires some combined businesses to pay the tax retroactively, causing unfair and undue hardship on small business owners.  The ordinance would apply a test that includes whether a company’s common ownership is 80 percent or more versus the current 50 percent level, and the new standard would be prospective. 


“What the city gains by creating an environment conducive to family-sustaining jobs and economic development will easily replace the one-half of 1 percent of the city budget dependent on what’s generated from the head tax,” Roper says. “The Chicagoland Chamber and its members see these measures as an important step in attracting employers to the city and improving the environment for economic development and job creation.”


For years businesses have complained about the head tax and it has been cited as another example of an unnecessary and burdensome regulation that put Chicago at a competitive disadvantage with other cities, Roper adds. By eliminating the head tax, Roper sees an opportunity to create stability for businesses operating within the city.


“Businesses choosing to locate in Chicago would enjoy a more predictable tax and regulatory environment in order to plan and operate successfully,” Roper says. “The Chicagoland Chamber and other business groups have long advocated for repeal of the head tax in order to signal the city’s commitment to attracting new businesses, creating jobs, and growing revenue. Thanks to the efforts of Alderman Tunney, who introduced the ordinances, our community is in position to take another step toward that beacon of a better tomorrow for employers and employees alike.”