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County Board repairs wheel tax

The Cook County Board Thursday voted to eliminate the county’s wheel tax — ending its vehicle registration fines and fees.

The measure’s sponsor, Commissioner Kevin Morrison, said repeal would be a step toward making the county “one of the most equitable in the nation by eliminating a regressive tax that has been a burden on county residents.”

But before anybody in Evanston start’s jumping for joy about the move — it’s important to note that the county vehicle registration fees and fines only applied to residents of unincorporated Cook County.

And the repeal has no effect on the wheel tax charged by the City of Evanston.

The county tax, while applied at rates similar to the City of Evanston’s wheel tax, only raised about $3.6 million a year — or about 0.045% of the county’s $8 billion budget.

Evanston’s wheel tax raises $2.9 million a year — or about 0.8% of Evanston’s $360 million budget. That probably makes it unlikely the wheel tax repair idea will catch on here.

So, while you could call your alder and tell him or her that Morrison says a wheel tax “disproportionately impacts the Black and Brown residents … who can least afford to pay for it,” you still need to make your Evanston wheel tax payment by Sept .30 this year.

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