121 REPORT – CRMA – October 2015




Sponsor:  Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward)
Committee on Health and Environmental Protection
This proposal would amend the recently enacted plastic t-shirt bag ban by prohibiting retailers from offering reusable bags made of plastic if they are less than 10 mils thick.  In addition, the proposal would require retailers to report the number and type of bags distributed on a weekly basis to the city.  Lastly, the ordinance bans compostable bags until such time that residents have curbside composting.  This last point is a distinction without a difference as there is at least one company that offers residential composting for a fee in the city.    
CRMA will continue to push for the ordinance to be amended to replace this language with a fee on all single-use bags.  The latter option preserves customer choice while employing a proven method for actually changing consumer behavior.  If a customer doesn’t want to pay for bags, then the customer will start bringing their own bags.  The use of plastic bags has decreased dramatically with this model in other areas of the country with similar mandates and customers adopted the habit of bringing their own bags.
Sponsors:  Aldermen Edward M. Burke (14th Ward), Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) and others
Committee on Finance
Chicago’s suburbs have been dealing with an outright heroin epidemic for years among teens and young adults.  While use hasn’t been as much of an issue in Chicago, the sale of the drug has increased exponentially as it has increasing become a drug of choice.  Sales have spiked on the west side of the city with suburban buyers traveling down Interstate 290 (dubiously dubbed the “Heroin Highway”) to the city in order to score the drug.  Legislators, local police departments, pharmacies, hospitals and treatment facilities have been inundated with those seeking treatment and others demanding ways to combat the problem.  To that end, HB 1 was signed into law recently by Gov. Rauner which will put forth a comprehensive plan to combat heroin and prescription drug abuse.  It would allow pharmacists to distribute opiod antagonists without a prescription, provides for training for law enforcement, grants for drug take-back programs and other efforts to combat this issue from all sides.
This resolution focuses on coordinating public health measures, law enforcement strategy and equipping first responders with training and kits to properly respond timely to overdoses.  Tragically, over the weekend, there were over 70 cases of heroin overdoses related to heroin purchases on the west side laced with a painkiller used to give people a faster high.  The task force will include various Aldermen, city agencies and departments that will consult with Cook County to develop a regional approach, medical professionals and other concerned advocates.
Proposals to Establish a Property Tax Rebate Program
Committee on Finance
We have previously reported on the Mayor’s efforts to increase property taxes over the next four years while increasing the homestead exemption for homes valued at $250,000 or less which would push the burden of that tax further onto the business community.  Aldermen Moreno and Ramirez-Rosa have both introduced their own proposals that would provide a rebate program instead of increasing the homestead exemption for homeowners.  They would allow homeowners with an AGI of less than $100,000 or whose AGI is less than or equal to 400% of FPL to apply for a grant/rebate that could cover the increase in their property taxes.
Cook County already has a property tax system that taxes residences and commercial properties differently with businesses taxed at 25% of assessed value and residences at 10%.  Of course, Cook County is the only county in the state with such a tax differential.  While the focus has been on the thriving Central Business District, the struggling neighborhood businesses will take the hit of this tax the hardest.  CRMA understands the need for a large tax increase considering the precarious financial position in which the city finds itself, but it opposes any proposal that might push the property tax burden to Chicago’s neighborhood businesses.  There are many neighborhood businesses that are struggling to keep their doors open, and like residents, they could use some tax relief as well.
Sponsor:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Committee on Health and Environmental Protection
This proposal would allow the Commissioner to immediately suspend a low-risk food establishment’s business license for failure to submit the self-inspection report within the designated times established by the department.


Sponsors:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Aldermen Daniel Solis (25th Ward), James Cappleman (46th Ward) and others
After spending millions of dollars in recent years modernizing many of the “el” stations with more projects to come, the city is focused on turning these areas into bustling retail and residential meccas.  To that end, Mayor Emanuel introduced this proposal to loosen some of the parking requirements and increase incentives for providing affordable units and mixed-use development near these transportation hubs.  Effective Date:  November 1, 2015.


Tanya Triche
Vice President/General Counsel