Taxes and taxis.

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Some Chicago alderman held a news conference this afternoon in support of cab drivers who are being slammed by the emergence of Uber.

Both Uber and cabs provide similar service, but the city treats them differently. Cabbies are far more regulated.

The Uber company is favored by the city’s lack of regulations governing its operation. Not that Uber drivers are getting rich. But somebody is.

Uber is part of the new gig economy.  It really isn’t that new. Just calling it the gig economy is new. It is a job with no benefits, no regular salary, no union, no contract. A gig? Get it. As in, “Hey, man. I’m between gigs.”

That might be okay if you’re a young guy in a rock and roll band. Not if you’re trying to raise a family.

I’m sure that the reason that Chicago is so friendly to the gig economy and Uber has nothing at all to do with the fact that Rahm’s brother Ari is heavily invested in Uber.

I found myself at the press conference on the second floor of City Hall this morning because I rode my bike downtown to attend an earlier press conference that was called by one of our Logan Square community organizations to oppose the Mayor’s current proposal for a $600 million property tax hike.

This is me holding up my sign “Tax the Rich” at the first press conference.

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But I’m with the cabbies. I was one. I was a definite part of the gig economy then even though nobody called it that. So I stayed a few moments for that press conference before I rode my bike the four miles back to Logan Square.

For three years when I was going back to college to get my teacher certification I hacked.

If that was a regulated industry, then Uber is really unregulated.

I did have to get a chauffeurs’ license from the city. And then I went to work for a company called American United which owned a bunch of medallions. This city offers a very limited number of medallions so they cost a fortune and are owned mostly by big companies like Yellow. And some smaller ones like American United.

They would sublet me the cab for 12 hours. Between buying my own gas and the cost of the lease, the combination of which is what they called “the nut”, it would be six to eight hours before I was making any money.

Plenty of days I didn’t make my nut at all.

I’m telling you. It’s tough out there in the gig economy.

3 thoughts on “Taxes and taxis.

  1. Realize that if Chicago and Illinois taxes the rich, they will move out of state!!…………. GO FOR IT!!!!!!!! And, rich people, PLEASE take Rauner with you!!!! Move to the cheesehead state where they have a graduated income tax!!!!

  2. Chicago is doing the same thing with the 17 licensed Bed and Breakfasts and the 4,000 plus UNLICENSED Airbnb hosts. Safety and Building inspections, licenses, fees, food certificate managers, etc vs. “we are still trying to get our arms around the situation” when asked why they did not enforce the Chicago Vacation Rental and Bed and Breakfast Establishment ordinances. Does Ari also own stock in Airbnb?
    Licensed B&Bs have seen a huge drop in occupancy and profits since neighborhoods are inundated with “airbnb” hosts. Licensed B&Bs are also being attacked by Joe Berrios, Cook County Assessor, who has decided without any legislative changes to reclassify only the LICENSED B&Bs in Cook County into the same tax class as the United Center, John Hancock, Wrigley Field and Rivers Casino – because B&Bs are unique special commercial uses suddenly in his office. The initial changes were $17,000 – $70,000 MORE in property taxes than these small business owners were paying this year.

  3. As Uber is so unregulated, I’m surprised that more crimes haven’t been committed, on both sides of the cars.
    Do you think that that information has been suppressed?

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