A Rich Property Transfer Tax

Chicago, already a heavily taxed city, is looking at increasing the tax it claims on the sale of properties valued at more than $1 million. It’s no tweak, either: the increase would be from the current 0.75% to 2.65%. Even so, it’s projected (more like hoped IMNSHO) to raise $163 million per year. The money ostensibly is to be explicitly earmarked for construction of (and, presumably, conversion of existing structures for) permanent supportive housing units for the homeless.

I have questions.

Chicago—Cook County—is losing population at a high rate.

Cook County lost more population than almost any other county in the nation, with the exception of Los Angeles County, from July 2021 to July 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released March 30.
The leading cause of the drop was 94,344 residents who moved out of Cook County during the year, completely driving the county’s population to shrink by 68,314 residents.

With the city undergoing such high net outmigration for greener [sic] regions, who’s going to be buying those rich properties? Not folks in the surrounding counties; those regions are losing population, also, and not into Chicago. No one in his right mind is moving into Cook and surrounding counties. Sales are going to fall off year by year, and the sales that do occur are going to be at increasingly lower prices, reducing the number of million-dollar properties that exist, much less that are up for resale.

I have a downstream question, too. What properties does the city plan to seize for the construction/conversion? What does the city plan to do with the residents who will be displaced by this construction/conversion?

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