Chicago, IL — Just as we thought the Mayor Lightfoot vs. Uber battle royale was coming to an end, the Mayor shared an alarming – but not totally surprising – revelation about the ride-hailing giant Uber.
According to her statement last Wednesday, Uber allegedly had offered to pay off black ministers a whopping $54 million if they would join a campaign to publicly oppose the $40 million ride-hailing tax proposal.
Furthermore, she said Uber was using ministers as “pawns” all in the effort to avoid regulation.
Looking closer, it seems that all these beef can be traced back to Lightfoot’s proposal earlier this year. The Chicago mayor allegedly blamed ride-share services for the traffic congestion in the city. Hence, she proposed raising the city’s tax on single-passenger ride shares to $1.13 per ride from 60 cents. Meanwhile, the fee would increase by $2.28 for solo rides and 53 cents for solo rides outside of the Loop.
This is all in the effort to raise $40 million from rideshares to compensate with the city’s $838 million budget hole.
Obviously, Uber opposed the move, saying it would lead to the nation’s highest ride-sharing fee. Uber then shared a counterproposal that would raise taxes more equitably and not disproportionately affect riders from low-income areas. Their plan calls for a jump from 25 to 42 cents for shared rides. And from 30 cents to 85 cents for solo riders. They say this plan will raise more money than the city’s proposal.
Going back to the initial conflict, the African American ministers did actually publicly oppose the tax. They reasoned out that the proposal would hurt minority communities that don’t get great access to public transit or taxi services.
Now, Lightfoot claims that the ministers themselves told her of Uber’s dark scheme, but she didn’t drop any names.
Meanwhile, Uber denied the mayor’s allegation.
“The mayor is entitled to her own opinion, but not her own facts,” said an Uber spokeswoman. “Weeks ago, we shared a proposal that would have raised $54 million for the city. She is confusing this figure.”