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City Council Considers Transfer Tax Proposals

November 27, 2018


BOMA/Chicago has been actively opposing three transfer tax proposals currently up for consideration in the City Council.

Cumulatively, the three proposals total an increase of $12.00 per $500 and, if all passed, would increase the City portion of the transfer tax from the current $3.75 to $15.75 per $500 for transfers over $1 million. (There is also a state and county portion of the transfer tax that total an additional $1.50 per $500.)

The proposals do not directly increase the tax. They call for public referendums to increase the tax to be placed on the public ballot, but if the proposals were successful, they would most likely result in one or more of the following increases:

The proposals are as follows:

PurposeIncreaseApplicable to:
Lead in Water Mitigation$5.00 per $500Transfers over $750,000
Police and Fire Pensions$1.00 per $500Transfers over $1 Million
Homelessness$6.00 per $500Transfers over $1 Million




Due to a very small procedural window, proponents were unable to get Council action completed in time for any of the proposals to be included on the upcoming February ballot. Although the proposals were reported out of the Rules Committee on November 14, the report was simply on a procedural referral to a committee because no hearing has occurred on the merits of the proposals. The Council then moved the committee report to a “defer and publish” agenda which made it impossible for the proposals to be included on the February ballot.  It is likely that proponents will attempt to get the measures on the April ballot.

If all City Proposals were to pass, the City Portion Transfer Tax would increase from $7,500 per $1 million to $31,500 per million.

Mayor Emanuel has come out in opposition to efforts to increase the transfer tax, but one of the proposals already has 34 City Council co-sponsors.  BOMA/Chicago’s legislative team will continue to work with our allies in the City Council to make the City aware of the economic danger of passing these taxes which are in addition to regular property taxes.