2017 Will Cost You More In Chicago: A List Of New Laws Coming Your Way

CHICAGO — For Chicagoans, the start of 2017 means everything from turning on the tap to going to the grocery store will be more expensive.

A host of new laws — some imposing new taxes and fees — will take effect once 2016 comes to an end.

Paper or plastic? Either choice will cost you 7 cents

Unless you have your own bags, a trip to the grocery store will put the squeeze on your wallet in 2017.

All Chicago retailers — from the biggest big box to the tiniest mom and pop store — can start charging shoppers 7 cents for every bag they need to haul away their weekly rations of bacon and eggs.

Shoppers will be able to see the charge on their receipts, right next to the charge levied on other products in the city, like the bottled water tax.

The plastic bag fee is expected add $9.2 million to the city's coffers and push Chicagoans to bring reusable bags and avoid sending the bags to landfills — or the city's recycling centers.

A ban on single-use, thin plastic bags approved by the City Council in 2014 was considered a failure and prompted the new law.

The city will get a nickel from the sale of each bag, with the store owner getting the other 2 cents.


Homeowners face new water tax

The Council agreed in September to hike the city's water and sewer taxes by 30 percent, adding to the long list of fees and taxes that have risen as officials struggle to put the city's pension funds on firmer ground.

The average household will pay an extra $4.50 a month next year in order to turn on its taps and flush its toilets. When the tax is fully implemented in five years, the owner of the average home will pay $228 more a year.

Get ready for round two of the largest property tax hike in Chicago history

Last year, the Council approved the largest property tax hike in Chicago's history — $589 million phased in over four years.

That means property owners across Chicago will see their city taxes rise by $109 million in 2017 to pay for pensions for the city's police officers and firefighters.

The Chicago Public Schools also approved a property tax hike for 2017 bills in an effort to bring in an additional $245 million, with most of that money earmarked for teachers' pensions.

The bottom line for the owner of $250,000 home is a property tax bill that is about $350 higher in 2017 than in 2016 — on top of the higher taxes for water and sewer service.

Go ahead, stop for menthol cigarettes after dropping your kid at school

Starting Sunday, stores near elementary and middle schools that sell cigarettes can start selling flavored and menthol tobacco products again.

Earlier this month, the Council lifted the ban imposed in October 2014 after owners of convenience stores and gas stations complained the ban on the popular smokes has forced them to lay off workers and slashed their profit margins.

Fourteen aldermen voted against the plan, saying it would make it easier for children to start smoking and become addicted.

The city still bans the sale of the flavored and menthol tobacco products within 500 feet of high schools.

Stores within 500 feet of a high school can no longer add tobacco products to the items they offer for sale, under the revised ordinance.


Airbnb regulations still up in the air

In June, the Council imposed new regulations on homeowners who use home-sharing platforms like Airbnb that would levy an extra tax on home-sharing hosts, limit on the number of units in buildings that can be rented out and require hosts to keep records on guests.

But a federal lawsuit filed by opponents of the regulations has put those rules on hold, even though Airbnb representatives called the new law a "big win."

Most of the ordinance is set to take effect on Feb. 28, after the next hearing in the lawsuit, which is set for Feb. 1.

Goodbye free parking spot: 752 new meters coming

Drivers who rely on free street parking spots likely will have to feed a meter in 2017.

The firm that leases Chicago's parking meters got the green light to install 752 parking meters — 153 in the Loop — with the rest spread throughout the city.

Drivers will also pay $2 more to park at a meter near Wrigley Field starting two hours before Chicago Cubs games and other special events at the Friendly Confines and one hour afterward.

Here's where the new meters will go: