City hikes real estate tax

The City Council voted to increase the real estate transfer tax today, upholding the city's end of a funding package passed by Springfield to avert service cuts and fee hikes by the financially strapped CTA.

The increase, which will fall on buyers, raises the transfer tax on all real estate transactions by 40 percent, from $7.50 to $10.50 per $1000 of sale price.

The tax, which goes into effect April 1, is expected to provide $100 million to the financially troubled CTA retiree and health care fund.

Senior citizens 65 and older who buy a building that sells for under $250,000 may apply for a refund of a portion of the tax.

Another provision provides for free CTA rides for active military and disabled veterans.

Realtors and representatives of the homebuilding industry had protested the tax, which they said would weaken an already ailing real estate market.

The vote was 41 to 6 in favor of the tax increase. The aldermen voting against the proposed measure were Bob Fioretti, Sandi Jackson, Sharon Dixon, Rey Colon, Brian Doherty and Bernie Stone. Alderman Walter Burnett abstained from voting.