The Chicago City Council Wednesday voted 43-7 to approve Mayor Daley's final budget proposal, much to Daley's delight.
"I believe we've protected the city for the future," Daley said in trumpeting a budget that held the line on taxes and fees while dipping into city coffers. "I do not believe it is right to raise taxes with the economy as bad as it is. "
While Daley was happy, not every alderman shared his sentiment.
"Is this a budget we all like?" said Alderman Dick Mell at City Hall. "No. But we can't print money like the federal government."
Many city lawmakers are upset that the new budget appears to rob from Peter to pay Paul. Daley penciled in plans to avoid tax increases, fines and fees for 2011 by drawing down the city's reserves. The mayor earmarked $273 million from the sale of the Skyway and the parking meter lease, and another $180 million in TIF money, to help shore up a $655 million budget gap.
That plan did not sit well with bond agencies who lowered the city's rating in light of the news.
Some alderman signaled a desire not to vote for its approval.
"I am not going to be able to vote for this budget," said Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward.) Moore called for a forensic audit of the city's books and asked that the inspector general investigate the city's financial issues and create an independent budget office. "We have to stop putting off having an honest discussion."
Alderman Bob Fioretti also said he couldn't support the budget.
Still others pitched a new revenue source to help the bottom line.
Ald. Ed Burke and Carrie Austin are proposing a $1 taxi cab surcharge that could raise up to $70 million for the city. It would add $1 to all flag pulls that originate in the city.
"Many other major cities across the nation already charge more for cab rides," Ald. Austin "The City of Chicago needs to determine if higher fares could be absorbed to help balance our City budget."