Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chicago Shopping: Bucktown & Wicker Park

The other headline I was considering was: CHICAGO TAX RATE IS 10.25% (and you thought NYC was bad!). But more on that later.

Chicago is my second favorite city in the U.S., so when I had the recent chance to go there and stay for free (in my parents' hotel room, like a 12 year old), I took it! I was directed by my Midwestern friends to seek out Bucktown and Wicker Park for fun and shopping. They equated it to the East Village, which is mostly accurate. Except there's a little bit of Fifth Ave.-in-the-teens-vibe at some points as well. And I don't know if it was due to the holiday weekend or that I was shopping on a Sunday and a Monday, but it was ghost-townish by comparison.

Anyway, I spend my days on N. Damen (see photo of empty store front for any of you entrepreneurs), N. Milwaukee and W. Division and found some pretty good spots, including:

bazar apparel, beadniks, daniels antiques, hejfina, michelle tan, noir, new'd, p.45, porte rouge, pump, robin richman, saffron inc., the silver room

So let's go back to this tax issue and compare and contrast NY vs. Illinois, shall we?

New York has a 4% state sales tax. There is no New York City sales tax imposed on the purchase of clothing and footwear regardless of the amount. As of September 1, 2007, New York State has eliminated sales tax on all clothing and shoes if the single item is priced under $110. Most counties and cities have not eliminated their local sales taxes on clothing and shoes. There are however, 11 counties and 5 cities (most notably New York City) that have done so. So this means when you buy clothes and shoes that cost more than $110 in New York City, you only pay the 4% New York State sales tax.

Much to my shock, the combined tax rate in Illinois therefore varies from the State minimum of 6.25% to a current high of 10.25% in Cook County.

This means that everything I bought in Chicago had a ten-point-two-five percent tax tacked on! This is outrageous! And possibly the only thing in Chicago that is not cheaper than New York...
Anyway, I will be providing more in-depth insight into some of the stores I visited, so stay tuned for forthcoming Chicago postings.

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