Local Black Business Organization Stands Against ‘Bring Chicago Home” Referendum

By Silence DoGood, The Southland Journal | February 11, 2024

The Southland Black Chamber of Commerce recently released a Policy Statement on the “Bring Chicago Home” Referendum slated to be on the March 19 primary ballot for Chicago voters. The policy statement is as follows:

The Chicago City Council recently passed a motion to put the Bring Chicago Home Ordinance on the ballot for the 2024 primary. This ordinance will more than triple the current real estate transfer tax in the City of Chicago for properties one million dollars. The referendum would raise the transfer tax from $3.75 for every $500 (.75%) to $13.25 for every $500 (2.65%) of transfer price.

More than 32,000 properties in the City of Chicago will be subject to this transfer tax increase. With already extremely high vacancy rates throughout the city, this transfer tax could exacerbate the problem by stymieing activity in the real estate market. The business environment in the City of Chicago needs a boost, not a hindrance. The current ordinance looks to provide revenue for the city’s homeless issue. However, the current plans have no direct solution or method put in place for how the potential extra funds can be used. Those funds are “potential” funds, because any tax increase does not “guarantee” an increase in revenue. Also, transfer tax revenues are volatile by nature. Market conditions largely affect how real estate is bought and sold, and any market volatility can adversely affect the Chicago real estate market. Adding an increase in the transfer tax can further affect the market in a negative way.

The Southland Black Chamber of Commerce and Industry also sees this ordinance having a negative effect on black businesses throughout the city. This tax could make it more difficult for black business owners to sell their property and to purchase property. Black residents and black businesses who lease throughout the city will be negatively affected as property owners will pass these extra costs onto their tenants.

The Southland Black Chamber of Commerce and Industry stands against this measure and urges voters in the City of Chicago to VOTE NO to the BRING CHICAGO HOME referendum.