The Package, is the biggest property tax hike of Daley's 18-year tenure. The Package has higher taxes on beer, wine and liquor, a new 5-cent tax on bottled water and increased water and sewer fees.
The most controversial item was the $86 million property tax increase, which passed on a vote of 29-21.
Daley, who has bristled at even the slightest opposition to past spending plans, paid little heed to opponents during the long debate on the council floor and laughed as he congratulated the aldermen who supported the property tax increase. He said they had done the "heavy lifting" for the entire council. "If you don't have weightlifters, you have chaos," Daley said afterward.
Ald. Isaac Carothers (D)(29th) started the weightlifting theme, using the slogan "no pain, no gain," in justifying his support for Daley.
"This is where the rubber meets the road," Carothers said, reminding aldermen that most of their votes are on routine matters such as putting up new stop signs. "This is really where it counts. It counts now." And he went on to blabber some more with some quips he picked up from Milton Berle's Private Joke File. Probably some verbal garbage from Yogi Berra too.
Ald. Joe Moore (D) (49th) said the tax increases would weigh heavily on the poor and the working-class residents of the city. Especially since all the rich people will leave as soon as the housing crisis is over. He mentioned a couple of the scandals posted on Blasphemes: from the rigged hiring process to the Hired Truck program to inspectors taking bribes, CREATED the need for these tax hikes.
"Nothing has eroded public confidence in our local government more than the constant drumbeat of criminal indictments and convictions of people who have enriched themselves at public expense," Moore said. "And nothing has made the public more cynical than the endless string of broken promises to end business as usual in city government.
"How many bottles of water must be sold to pay for the $12 million fund created to compensate victims of the city's rigged hiring system?" Moore added.
I like this guy! He pretends to care real nice-like.
Ald. Toni Foulkes (D)(15th), whose campaign was almost entirely funded by organized labor opposing Daley in the election, voted against the budget and the tax increases. She said she hopes the administration doesn't retaliate. "I've also been told if you vote against it, you won't get your services, and I really, really hope that's not the case," Foulkes said. "Because I've got some angry people back [in my ward]." Guess what, Toni? Yeah, you're going to have to personally take the trash out of the 15th ward. But thank you for trying!
Daley said aldermen who opposed the budget wouldn't see a change in services to their wards. Then, I guess, he laughed some more? I wasn't there. I'm mostly cutn'dapastin' here.
Daley II said he hopes that he won't have to raise taxes again during this four-year term, which started in May, "unless we have an earthquake or something . . . something outrageous happens."
Although officially the city says it is increasing the property tax by $83.4 million, the ordinance approved Tuesday raises the levy by $86.5 million, to $833.49 million from $746.96 million.
The difference, city officials say, is that $3 million of the increase will be used to pay off debt previously issued on behalf of City Colleges.
In total, the budget raises $279.6 million in NEW revenue. That's NEW over what they're already rakin' in. And don't know how to account for what they've already got.
Helping to bring in the new money will be a 5-cent tax on bottled water that the administration projects will raise $10.5 million while addressing environmental concerns and encouraging people to drink tap water. This is the big compromise I predicted over the 10-cent tax. Now we should feel real warm and fuzzy that it's only 5. I feel empty. The best part on that one - it's just water bottles. Not soda cans, Gater-aid, coffee cups... just water. It's to cut down on the landfill waste. B-S. It's to line your pockets.
The Illinois Beverage Association and other interest groups promptly issued a joint statement calling the new levy "an onerous and discriminatory tax that will be paid for by consumers." That's you and me. Not the IBA.
The budget also includes higher taxes on beer, wine and liquor. Seven cents more will be levied on a six-pack of beer, for example, bringing the total city tax to 16 cents. So when you go to a neighboring state to fill up to avoid the obnoxious gas tax - be sure to pick up a six pack or a case.
A monthly surcharge on telephone bills will double to $2.50 to pay for the city's 911 center. Water and sewer rates will also rise, costing the average homeowner another $45 more a year.
While the budget is long on higher taxes, it is short on new programs and services. No kidding - they're still paying lawyers to fend off the Federal probes.
It does call for hiring 75 new police officers, although that has been pushed back until later in the year as a cost-cutting measure. Well - that's the first one I've heard about. We'll hold the purse for THIS?!!
In his budget address Oct. 10, Daley called for expanding the blue-cart recycling program from 80,000 household to 211,000, but the rollout was later pulled back to save money. The administration has not put a number on how many households they now hope to reach next year with the program. Again, B-S. We'll have to talk about this one sometime.
The budget also funds the creation of the controversial Department of Compliance, which critics say will undermine the corruption-busting authority of Inspector General David Hoffman. The spending plan does include additional staff for Hoffman's office, although not as much as the inspector general had sought. Only in Chicago can you create more corruption while fighting corruption. Gotta love it. Honey, back the U-Haul up.
Part of the reason Daley sought to increase the property tax in the name of supporting the library system is that the current tax levy, which used to include library funding, has become consumed by city debt and employee pension costs. It sure as hell ain't books. Have you been to a city ly-bary? I've seen better selection and quality at the thrift stores.
Ald. Leslie Hairston (D) (5th) supported the budget, but she agreed the city has to get a handle on spending in the coming years. "If we don't show some restraint in the future, the taxpayers are going to rebel," Hairston said.
I say, they're just going to leave. Have you been to Detroit? Yeah, a lot like that.
stolen from the Tribune - original comments by Cap'n