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Chicago voters reject ‘mansion tax’ to fund homeless services during Illinois primary

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago voters have rejected a one-time real estate tax on properties over $1 million to pay for services for homeless people.

It’s a loss for first-term Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who championed the so-called “mansion tax.”

The proposal would have incrementally raised the city’s real estate transfer tax on properties valued at more than $1 million. Supporters estimated it would have generated $100 million annually for homeless services, including for mental health care. There are roughly 68,000 homeless people in Chicago on any given night.

The measure also pitched lowering the transfer tax on properties under $1 million, which represents the vast majority of home sales in the nation’s third-largest city.

Opponents, including real estate groups, argued the tax unfairly targets commercial properties and business as downtown is still rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. They initially won their lawsuit targeting the measure on constitutional grounds, but it was overturned by an appeals court. The Illinois Supreme Court declined their motion for an appeal.

Voters in cities including Los Angeles and Santa Fe, New Mexico, have approved similar measures.