Mayor Rahm Emanuel's $6 million tobacco tax plan and a new 50-cent charge for cab fares paid with credit cards were among the items approved at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.
Emanuel's tobacco tax plan will raise the smoking age in the city from 18 to 21 and hike taxes on cigars, smokeless tobacco and rolling tobacco to raise $6 million. Ten aldermen voted against the ordinance.
Aldermen also agreed to ban chewing tobacco at Chicago sporting events and eliminate the city's sales tax on tampons and sanitary napkins.
Several new proposals were introduced at today's council meeting, including an ordinance from Emanuel that would let American Airlines build five additional gates at O'Hare International Airport. The additional gates, to be paid for by American Airlines, are expected to be completed by 2018, if the agreement is approved.
"This represents the next step in securing another win for O'Hare International Airport and the City of Chicago," Emanuel said in a statement. "Chicago's economic future is linked to the success and growth of O'Hare, and these new gates will help make O'Hare not only the busiest, but also the best airport in the world."
The mayor and Chicago Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th) also introduced a resolution calling for Mondelez International to reconsider its planned offshoring of 600 jobs at its the Southwest Side Nabisco factory.
"The city of Chicago and Mondelez have a long history and it is our sincere hope that our partnership continues," Emanuel said. "We are urging Mondelez to take a closer look at the talent of Chicago's workforce and the trend of other companies that are expanding their manufacturing operations here in Chicago. We hope Mondelez reconsiders this decision and instead decides to be a part of the exciting future that is being built by the residents on the South Side of the city of Chicago."
Also at Wednesday's meeting, the Progressive Reform Caucus announced plans to propose and an ordinance aimed strengthening the city's a "financial transparency and accountability." Aldermen say a proposal is in the works to "imposes rigorous review standards for extraordinary financial transactions," like the controversial interest rate swap agreements the city has with banks.
"The city entered many of these toxic swap deals with no oversight or transparency in the years following the 2008 financial crash," said progressive Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th). "They've been hugely profitable for the big banks, but terrible for taxpayers."
Ald. John Arena (45th) added, "We look forward to continue working closely with the Emanuel administration to get this critical piece of legislation introduced and passed in a timely manner. We all have a common interest in protecting taxpayers and create financial stability for the city of Chicago."