WBEZ: Here’s what you need to know about the tax increase Chicago voters will consider in March

The Night Ministry's case manager Sylvia Hibbard offers services from the street medicine van, such as free health care, food and other survival supplies, at a homeless encampment near North Green and West Kinzie streets, in January 2022.

By Tessa Weinberg (WBEZ), November 7, 2023

This spring, Chicago voters will be asked whether they want to increase a tax on the sale of high-end properties to fund homelessness prevention.

Chicago’s City Council approved the citywide referendum Tuesday, handing Mayor Brandon Johnson a political win on one of his major campaign promises and achieving a long sought-after milestone for advocates that aim to prevent homelessness.

The campaign, known as Bring Chicago Home, seeks to adjust the real estate transfer tax, a one-time tax imposed on the sale of property. Voters would be asked to authorize City Council to adjust Chicago’s current, flat tax to a tiered, marginal tax that would increase the tax rate on portions of property above $1 million — while implementing a tax cut on property valued under that amount.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud coalition member of Bring Chicago Home.

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Audacy: Chicago voters will decide fate of Brandon Johnson’s tax increase to fight homelessness

By Mallory Vor Broker and Mike Krauser (Audacy), November 7, 2023

Chicago City Council approved the “Bring Chicago Home” measure on Tuesday, which could lead to an increase in the real estate transfer tax in order to help fund housing and programs for people experiencing homelessness.

Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, advocates for the proposal rallied across the street from City Hall on the plaza of the former Thompson Center. Mayor Brandon Johnson made his way over to join them.

“We’re not just bringing Chicago home; we’re just not raising revenue; we’re actually demonstrating how the City of Chicago is leading the way for the rest of the world,” Johnson said. “No tricks, no divisive tactics are going to separate us from this moment.”

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud coalition member of Bring Chicago Home.

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Axios: Voters to decide Bring Chicago Home tax hike for homeless services

Mayor Brandon Johnson and a crowd of Bring Chicago Home supporters celebrate outside of City Hall.

By Monica Eng, Justin Kaufmann (Axios), November 7 2023

After months of debate, the Chicago City Council is putting one of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s campaign cornerstones — a high-end real estate transfer tax to fund homeless services — on next year’s ballot.

Why it matters: Chicago voters will decide in March whether to approve the tax that could raise more than $100 million a year to supply wraparound services to unhoused people.

Driving the news: The council voted in support of the Bring Chicago Home ballot initiative Tuesday with progressive alders overwhelmingly backing the measure.

What’s next: Expect intense lobbying on both sides as they try to influence voters before they head to the polls in March.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud coalition member of Bring Chicago Home.

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CBS2: Voters to decide whether to raise Chicago tax on sales of million-dollar homes to fight homelessness

Mayor Brandon Johnson and other BCH supporters celebrate together inside Chicago City Hall.

By Todd Feurer (CBS2), November 7, 2023

Chicago voters will decide next March whether to give the City Council authority to increase the tax on sales of million-dollar properties in order to fund efforts to fight homelessness.

The City Council voted 32-17 on Tuesday to place a binding referendum on primary election ballots to approve the so-called “Bring Chicago Home” ordinance, which would create a tiered system for the real estate transfer tax for property sales in Chicago:

  • The transfer tax for properties valued at less than $1 million would drop from 0.75% to 0.60%.
  • Properties sold for between $1 million and $1.5 million would pay a 2% transfer tax, nearly triple the current rate.
  • Properties sold for $1.5 million or more would pay a 3% transfer tax, four times the current rate.

The proposal is a key initiative of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s progressive agenda. The mayor has said the ordinance would lower the real estate transfer tax for 95% of homeowners, while increasing the tax on more expensive buildings, creating approximately $100 million in annual revenue for efforts to combat homelessness.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud coalition member of Bring Chicago Home.

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Chicago Sun-Times: ‘Bring Chicago Home’ referendum to reduce homelessness through tax on high-end property sales clears City Council

Bring Chicago Home supporters gather in City Hall and hold banners holding the cause's name.

By Fran Spielman (Chicago Sun-Times), November 7, 2023

It’s now up to Chicago voters to decide whether to authorize the City Council to raise the real estate transfer tax on high-end property sales to confront the burgeoning problem of homelessness.

The binding referendum known as “Bring Chicago Home” will appear on the March ballot, thanks to Tuesday’s 32-to-17 Council vote.

Johnson said the progressive movement behind Bring Chicago Home is “bigger than an office.”

“We’re gonna knock doors. We’re gonna talk to people. We’re gonna hold community meetings. And we’re gonna tell the story that one in four Black children who experience homelessness — that ain’t right. … We’re gonna right the wrong,” the mayor said.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud coalition member of Bring Chicago Home.

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CBS: Aldermen advance plan to increase Chicago tax on sales of million-dollar homes to fight homelessness

Mayor Brandon Johnson and other BCH supporters celebrate together inside Chicago City Hall.

By Todd Feurer, October 31, 2023

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan to raise the city’s tax on the sales of million-dollar properties in Chicago to fund efforts to fight homelessness has cleared its first major legislative hurdle, setting up a vote by the City Council to ask voters next March to approve the so-called “Bring Chicago Home” plan

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud member of the Bring Chicago Home coalition.

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ABC7: Chicago City Council approves putting Bring Chicago Home referendum on March 2024 ballot

Bring Chicago Home campaign supporters hold a banner reading "Bring Chicago Home" in front of a crowd.

By Karen Jordan (ABC7), November 7, 2023

Tuesday, the Chicago City Council approved a binding referendum, called Bring Chicago Home, which will appear on the March 2024 ballot. Voters will decide whether to authorize city council members to raise the real estate transfer tax on high-end property sales to fight homelessness. The referendum was championed by North Side 49th Ward Ald. Maria Hadden.

“We really rely on federal support and funding, things that come direct from federal government or the state. It’s been woefully insufficient for years,” she said.

The referendum pits the real estate industry against those who say an increase to the city’s real estate transfer tax is the best way to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into programs to address homelessness.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud BCH coalition member.

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Tribune: Mayor Brandon Johnson’s tax increase for homeless services will head to voters

Mayor Brandon Johnson and other BCH supporters celebrate together inside Chicago City Hall.

By Alice Yin and A.D. Quig (Tribune), November 7, 2023

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan to ask voters about raising the real estate transfer tax to combat homelessness cleared the City Council on Tuesday, as aldermen placed the referendum on the March 2024 ballot and advanced a key campaign promise of the progressive mayor.

In a 32-17 vote, aldermen approved the “Bring Chicago Home” measure to create a citywide referendum on implementing a tiered tax rate on all property sales, which advocates have said is a critical strategy to generate much-needed revenue for the city’s homeless population.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud coalition member of Bring Chicago Home.

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Crain’s: Effort to raise tax on high-end property sales will go to Chicago voters

The Chicago City Council chambers are shown, including a large desk and two smaller tables. Some alderpeople gather in the foreground.

By Justin Laurence (Crain’s), November 7, 2023

After another chaotic day at City Hall, the Chicago City Council approved a resolution 32 to 17 to add the question to the ballot, which, if approved by a simple majority, will allow the city to tweak the tax imposed when a property is sold. 

The so-called Bring Chicago Home campaign was a key campaign promise of Mayor Brandon Johnson, who rallied with supporters outside the Thompson Center on Tuesday ahead of the vote.

Between now and the March 19 primary, the referendum campaign will be intense, pitting the real estate industry against those who say an increase to the city’s real estate transfer tax is the best way to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into programs to build permanent supportive housing to drive down the rate of homelessness in the city. 

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a proud coalition member with Bring Chicago Home.

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