The Chicago Sun Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman, lays out a path that former Mayor Richard M. Daley followed as mayor of Chicago. Here is how Spielman described it.
The script goes something like this: Get elected. Stick it to taxpayers in the first year or two after the election. And build up enough of a revenue cushion to coast through the final two years without alienating voters again before the next election.
For 22 years, former Mayor Richard M. Daley followed that playbook to the letter.
Five times, he coasted to re-election by touting his ability to hold the line on taxes only to do the opposite the following year.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel campaigned on a promise to balance the budget without raising taxes, cutting police protection, and promised not to use one-time revenue sources to balance the budget.
So which direction will Mayor Rahm Emanuel travel. The Inspector General’s recent report of “suggested” revenue raisers gives us some idea and possible political cover.
A one percent commuter tax would have an annual take of $300 million. Resurrecting Emanuel’s controversial campaign promise to broaden the sales tax to an array of services not now covered — branded the “Rahm tax” by rivals — could yield $450 million.
Imposing a $5, London-style congestion fee on vehicles entering the city’s Central Business District during the morning and evening rush periods could raise $375 million, even after a 20 percent reduction in traffic to 400,000 vehicles-a-day.
And then there are these items.
The inspector general’s revenue menu also includes: raising water and sewer rates to the national average ($380 million); imposing a “pay-as-you-throw” garbage collection fee ($125 million); broadening the amusement tax ($105 million); and imposing a transaction tax on the major exchanges ($37 million) and imposing a blue cart recycling fee ($18 million).
The first budget will be a sign of things to come from the Emanuel Administration. We already have an idea where some of the cuts will come from, but the question is will there be “revenue raisers” in this budget.
John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books