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Bring Chicago Home Referendum Invalidated by Cook County Judge

A Cook County judge dismissed a Chicago ballot proposal to increase a one-time tax on luxury properties for homeless services — dubbed “Bring Chicago Home” — due to opposition from real estate and business sectors. 

Judge Kathleen Burke’s ruling occurred amidst early voting for Illinois’ March 19 primary, where the tax proposal is listed. The proposal aimed to elevate the real estate transfer tax for properties exceeding $1 million while reducing it for properties valued below that threshold.

First-term Mayor Brandon Johnson and supporters stated that the measure could generate approximately $100 million annually. The idea is that those funds would be used for housing and essential services, such as mental health care. Other cities, like Los Angeles and Santa Fe, New Mexico, have successfully implemented comparable tax hikes.

Though the measure suffered a significant blow, supporters say the battle is not over.  

“Bring Chicago Home remains on the ballot. We are disappointed in the court’s ruling but will be exploring every legal option available,” said a statement from the Mayor’s Office on Friday. 

“We firmly believe the referendum is legally sound, and the final arbiter should be the voters of the City of Chicago.”

As it stands, there are over 68,000 homeless persons living in the city of Chicago. Though Black people comprise about 28% of the city’s population, they represent 69% of non-asylum-seeking residents experiencing homelessness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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