Emanuel calls for a sales-tax swap

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Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday proposed a sales-tax swap — adding a slew of services to what gets taxed in return for cutting the city rate by a quarter percentage point.

Opponent Carol Moseley Braun immediately denounced the plan as “a tax increase,” a characterization Emanuel’s campaign bristled at, saying the candidate wants to cut the city portion of the sales tax from 1.25 percent to 1 percent.

But Emanuel also estimated that his sales-tax plan would lead to $15 million to $20 million more to the city. And services that are not now subject to the sales tax, such as tanning parlors, limo rides, private club memberships and pet grooming, would be taxed.

Emanuel also wants to scrap the city’s 8 percent tax on natural gas and replace it with an unspecified flat per-unit tax. Emanuel said taken together, his plan would save families $200 to $300, but with so few details it was difficult to determine whether that is true.

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