CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Village trustees in Skokie have voted to approve a new 1% sales tax at the Old Orchard Mall.
Skokie declared Old Orchard “blighted,” which the Chicago Tribune scoffed at in an editorial as “absurd.”
The extra 1% that’s going to the owner, Westfield Group, for improvements will mean shoppers will pay 11.25% while diners will pay 13.25%.
Mayor George Van Dusen said before the vote this is necessary to retain and attract retailers.
“We have a choice right now: we can act and curb the problem or we can hide and put our heads in the sand and pretend there isn’t a problem,” Van Dusen said.
Skokie gets about $50 million a year in sales tax revenues from the mall.
Van Dusen noted that the owner pays 38% of revenues in property taxes.
He called it a “tough decision,” adding the 1% tax, but the right one for the future of the mall.