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Morton Grove Faces Possible Self-Storage Sales Tax

On March 10, 7:30 p.m., the Village of Morton Grove, Ill., will discuss a proposed 5 percent sales tax to be levied on self-storage. Although the tax is to be paid by customers and collected by the town’s three storage businesses, facility owners claim they are the ones who will ultimately pay.
Leading the charge in opposing the proposed tax is Christopher Barry, co-owner of LifeStorage Centers of Morton Grove, which opened in November 2007. The company has a total of 10 locations throughout Chicago and surrounding areas. Barry has sent a letter of appeal to Village Administrator Joseph Wade, who recommended the new tax during a budget review last summer.
Wade says self-storage facilities use large tracts of commercial property but generate no sales tax for the village. Officials estimate that the self-storage tax would create about $50,000 a year in new revenue.
Barry claims the tax could well put him out of business. He says the tax could put his facility at a disadvantage when compared to those in neighboring towns, where the storage tax is not levied. Even though the duty is supposed to be paid by customers, in reality, he says he will have to absorb that cost to remain competitive with storage businesses in nearby communities.
In addition, Barry opposes the levy because he says his facility pays extremely high property taxes; the tax is unconstitutional, singling out self-storage from many other business types; and LifeStorage has significantly improved what used to be a run-down property, giving the neighborhood a fresh look.
Adam Blair, general manager of the Morton Grove U-Haul storage facility, also opposes the tax.
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