Even With the Tax Hike, Can you Afford to Leave Chicago?


Chicago is a city of industry, delicious food, diverse culture and taxes. If you don’t know by now, Chicago is facing another round of tax increases, especially on real estate. This may lead everyone in Chicago to think: How am I going to afford running a business here? Or even, Why should I keep my business here when the cost of living keeps rising? We empathize with the struggle of tax hikes, but the real question is: Can your business afford to leave? Here’s why, despite the tax hikes, leaving Chicago could negatively impact your business. 

Business Access

Besides the fact that Chicago has a world-class public transportation system, Chicago is also home to major companies and top talent. Groupon, Uber, Lyft, McDonalds and more have cozied up in the Windy City, and that’s great for business. The presence of established large companies nearby and convenient transportation will draw out potential new talent, making hiring a qualified employee much easier. 

Culture Access

Chicago is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. This means that Chicago residents have a multitude of options for new foods, festivals and fun across the city. The cultures of Chicago range from Polish neighborhoods, Ukrainian Village, Chinatown, and Little Italy to Uptown’s strong African roots. We also can’t forget to mention Chicago’s top-notch comedy scene at the infamous Second City, the renowned theatre scene and the gorgeous architecture. The more activities there are to do in a city, the easier it is to attract and retain employees. A major selling point of keeping your business in Chicago is that not only can your business offer them a great experience, but their physical environment can as well. 

The Cost Perspective

As we mentioned above, Chicago has just as much to offer as cities like Manhattan and San Francisco do. But how do all of these offerings break down price-wise compared to other cities? In order to make this simple, let’s use the average cost per square foot of commercial office space in three major cities. The average cost of commercial office space per square foot is $87 in New York City, $75 in Los Angeles and $37 in Chicago. This means that office space in San Francisco is nearly double the price of office space in Chicago, and Manhattan takes the cake at $50 more per square foot than Chicago. 

Furthermore, despite the property tax increases, the residential market in Chicago is still extremely affordable compared to many other major cities. Property tax hikes or not, Chicago residential real estate will still remain a bargain compared to New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C. and Seattle to name a few. This is an enormous draw to both employees and employers alike. 

Nobody enjoys a property tax increase, but when you reside in Chicago, the bang for your buck is pretty apparent. From a business, social and economical standpoint, Chicago is a place that business owners should not consider leaving. 

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