Emanuel’s water tax hike easily passes key test vote

CHICAGO -- The City Council Finance Committee advanced a plan that would cost Chicagoans $226 a year by 2020 on their water and sewer bills. The vote was 26-6.

The 29.5 percent tax increase would help shore up pensions for city workers. The average tax would begin at $53 a year, but it would go up to $226 a year by 2020.

The municipal employees pension fund is underfunded by $18.6 billion. City finance watchdogs question whether it will be enough to save the pension fund which is due to run out of money in 2025.

Chicago laundromat owners are against the plan, saying the rising cost of water will force many laundromats to close.

Some aldermen were angry that the mayor released data on the plan just 19 hours before the committee meeting.