Journal & Topics
State Rep. Brad Stephens (R-20th), who also serves as the mayor of Rosemont, is advocating for sales tax remittance deferral for Illinois hotels to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.
If hotels would be able to postpone sending sales taxes to the state, as Gov. JB Pritzker recently announced bars and restaurants could, it may help them stay in business, said Stephens in a March 19 letter to the governor.
“Specifically, your recent action on tax remittance deferral for retailers is precisely the type of action the state can, and must, take now to keep our hotels sufficiently liquid to remain up and running, and employing their workers, until this national crisis passes,” said Stephens.
In the letter, he called for sales tax remittance deferral of both Hotel Occupancy and Parking Excise taxes from March 25 through Sept. 30 so those funds could be used as a “lifeline for Rosemont hotels and their employees.”
There are at least 18 hotels currently operating in Rosemont, located near O’Hare International Airport, including the Pritzker family-owned Hyatt Rosemont. According to Stephens, that hotel is currently closed due to the pandemic, along with Rosemont’s Embassy Suites Hotel.
Other hotels that remain open, such as the Rose Hotel in the village’s recently completed Pearl District development, have only a few cars in their lots, said Stephens.
“Everybody is feeling the pain,” he told the Journal & Topics Monday (March 30).
COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization earlier this month.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 105,000 patients were diagnosed with the disease as of Monday (March 30) and over 2,400 had died due to complications related to the viral infection. Of those cases, 5,057 were identified in Illinois, as well as 73 deaths, according to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.
The Rosemont Health & Fitness Club learned March 14 that one of its members, a Des Plaines man in his 70s, had tested positive for COVID-19.
To stop the spread of the virus, Pritzker announced a “stay-at-home” order for all non-essential employees from March 21 through April 7, as well as a closure of all bars and restaurant dining rooms this month.
As other states and cities worldwide have also issued stay-at-home orders as well as restrictions on travel, hotels everywhere have suffered.
“Unfortunately, the hotel industry is getting decimated by this crisis in a way that threatens our state’s tourism businesses’ viability for the foreseeable future,” said Stephens.
According to the local mayor, Chicago hotels have lost an estimated $50 million in revenue due to COVID-19 related cancellations and the state is expected to lose 100,000 to 120,000 hotel-supported jobs in the coming weeks.
“We’re just trying to keep people being paid,” said Stephens of his plea to Pritzker.
For Rosemont, hotel occupancy taxes, $1.5 million in sales tax revenue from the Fashion Outlets of Chicago mall (now temporarily closed due to COVID-19), food and beverage taxes and amusement taxes for special events make up most of the village’s revenue, Stephens said.
“It’s going to be monumental,” he said of the virus’ impact on revenue. “It’s going to be something that hurts.”
However, Stephens is working to stay positive and keep things running in the village. He said there have only been a few cancellations at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, which is expected to be up and running again by May.
“It’s not like we’re going to flick a switch and it’s back on,” he said. “It’s going to take some time to ramp back up.”