CHICAGO - A slump in Chicago tourism taxes prompted the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority to draw on Illinois sales tax revenues for fiscal 2009 debt payments on $2.3 billion of convention center expansion bonds, a move that illustrates the need for lawmakers to act quickly on a debt restructuring plan, officials said.

The authority's revenues that go to repay the bonds primarily come from a series of tourism-related taxes on restaurants, hotels, car rental, and taxi rides from the city's airports. Those revenues fell $18.8 million short of what was needed to cover debt-service payments in fiscal 2009 ending June 30. The state's sales tax serves a backup pledge - subject to appropriation - on the bonds and so it was tapped to fully cover the debt service.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.