Chicago tax could help northwest Indiana

October 2, 2007

Development leaders in northwest Indiana want to pounce if commissioners in Cook County, Ill., follow through on a proposal to raise sales taxes to 11 percent-the highest in the nation-to plug a budget shortfall.

If commissioners raise the tax at a meeting Oct. 16, the level will be nearly twice the 6 percent sales tax across the border in Indiana. That could turn northwest Indiana into a retailing Mecca for tax-weary Chicagoans if the region takes advantage of the disparity to push retail development, according to the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.

The CEO of the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Speros Batistatos, said the region should use tax increment financing to lure high-end stores that would attract Chicago residents.

"The average customer is going to take notice," said Schererville Plan Commission President Tom Anderson. "They can buy more for the same price in Indiana."

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