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Evanston voters reject tax hike

Evanston voters today rejected by a wide margin the 20 percent real estate transfer tax increase proposed by the city council.

With 55 of 70 precincts reporting unofficial returns from the County Clerk’s office show 42 percent of the voters favored the referendum and 58 percent were opposed.

The vote totals were 6,820 for the tax hike and 9,456 against.

Update 7:15 a.m. 2/6: All but one precinct has now reported and the vote totals are 8,666 Yes to 11,959 No.

Update 10:40 p.m.: With now 65 precincts reporting the margin is still the same, 42 percent for to 58 percent against. Vote totals: 8,350 Yes; 11,448 No.

The aldermen had planned to use the increased revenue to partially cover the cost of catch-up payments to the police and fire pension fund.

The margin of defeat for today’s referendum was far larger than in November 2006 when the alderman asked voters to approve the same size tax hike to fund affordable housing programs. Then voters defeated the issue by 52 to 48 percent.

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