New Rosemont hotel tax aimed at preventing long-term migrant stays

Rosemont is tacking on a $1,000 tax on hotel stays 30 days and longer in an attempt to prevent housing migrants and protect its convention business, officials say.

The new tax comes in response to chatter village officials say they've heard in the hospitality industry about suburban hotels being eyed to shelter migrants. Mayor Brad Stephens cited a Nov. 3 story in Crain's Chicago Business about Chicago developer Mike Reschke's efforts to get six to eight suburban hotels to host thousands of new arrivals.

"We're just trying to preserve the convention business," said Stephens, whose father Donald's name graces the front of the 48-year-old, municipal-run convention center. "Could you imagine that if three of our hotels committed 100 rooms for five years, what does that do to the convention business? ... Then the convention organizers are gonna say, 'Well, wait a minute. How come you don't have hotel rooms? You boast that you have 6,000 hotel rooms - you don't have enough for our group.'"

So the new tax, approved this week by the village board, exempts businesses who book at least two blocks of rooms for their employees to stay for 60 days or more.

There also are exemptions of up to a year for the Athletes Unlimited women's softball league, which plays at Rosemont's Parkway Bank Sports Complex, and the Chicago Wolves, the longtime tenant of the Allstate Arena. Some of their athletes have long-term stays at area hotels.

Stephens, who also is the Republican state representative for the area, said he is "nowhere near anti-migrant." He says he supports efforts to employ people who have come here.

He added, he's not aware of any migrants staying in Rosemont's 20 hotels right now.

The local hotel tax - $1,000 per 30-day period, and prorated if less time - ordinarily would be paid by the hotel guest. But ultimately, it's the hotel operator who collects the tax and remits payment to the village.

"So if they want to take the money from wherever this is coming from, then be responsible for the tax, that's up to them," Stephens said.

The village already has a 7% hotel tax on stays of less than 30 days. The state hotel tax is 6% and Cook County's tax is 1%.

A new tax on hotel stays 30 days and longer in Rosemont comes amid talk that suburban hotels are being eyed to house migrants. Daily Herald File Photo
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