This category contains 9 posts

What could go wrong?

Today, the Chicago City Council voted 41-5 to give Mayor Emanuel more authority to enter into contracts for goods, work and services with respect to the G8 and NATO summits this Spring. They did this so he could enter the City into contracts without having to go through that old, pesky bidding process. Certainly, as … Continue reading

Not a cause for celebration

Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced his budget with a pledge to end the smoke and mirrors, and as it passed unanimously, aldermen celebrated a ‘new day’ for the City. But despite some improvement to end past gimmicks, the budget still includes misleading accounting tricks that hide a tax increase from public scrutiny. The City budget that … Continue reading

Budget season

‘Tis the season to… fill gaping budget deficits. Cook County is facing a budget deficit of $315 million, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle unveiled her plan to fill it yesterday. Much like the budget that Mayor Emanuel presented a couple of weeks ago, Preckwinkle’s budget is a mixture of cuts and revenue increases, … Continue reading

How powerful are aldermen?

I am in the process of rereading “Boss,” the hard-hitting biography of Richard J. Daley that chronicles his rise to power, written by renowned journalist Mike Royko. It’s a captivating read, and I highly recommend it. The part I read yesterday takes place after Daley got sworn into office (1955), and is figuring out how … Continue reading

To retain or return? TIFs and the City budget

Mayor Emanuel is presenting his 2012 budget to the City Council tomorrow morning. Word on the street is that among a grab bag of fixes from fee hikes to grid-based garbage collection, he is planning on using 20 percent of unallocated tax increment financing (TIF) funds to infuse the City with an extra $15 million … Continue reading

Tip for Rahm: Don’t be Daley

Here is my op-ed that ran yesterday on Gapers Block and Progress Illinois: “No one will argue with the fact that Chicago’s budget situation is dire—and has been for some time now. But Mayor Daley masked the drastic fiscal situation in Chicago with year after year of short-term budget gimmicks. The hope now is that, … Continue reading

Are TIFs Really Worth It?

Yesterday, Chicago’s Inspector General, Joseph Ferguson, released a report, “Budget Options for the City of Chicago,” detailing a grab bag of solutions to Chicago’s ailing budget– to the tune of almost $3 billion. His recommendations include several options to increase revenue, increase efficiency and cut waste. Perhaps one of the most contentious recommendations in the … Continue reading

Unlikely Allies

The time for denial is over. The Congressional “Super Committee” is already at work with a mandate under law and big cuts are coming. For too long politicians have called for deficit reduction without the political courage to say specifically where the money would come from. Politicians tend to hide behind proposals for across-the-board cuts … Continue reading

$1 Trillion

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a pathway to address the nation’s fiscal problems, the National Taxpayers Union and Illinois PIRG joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction. The report, “Toward Common Ground,” documents our findings. The study identifies 54 specific cuts in federal spending, … Continue reading