Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

New Advice for Rahm: 'Don't Be Daley'

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he's aware of questions of how TIF has been handed out and reiterated how his reform board is looking to answer those questions.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel is getting extra advice these days as his deadline nears to deliver Chicago's 2012 budget.

The city's inspector general last week put in his two, er 63, cents via a report suggesting ways the city can save money and generate revenue, including additional taxes, fees and even a Lake Shore Drive toll (the last of which Emanuel declined).

Inspector general Joseph Ferguson returned this week with suggestions of government transparency, suggesting former Mayor Daley shadily steered TIF donations to his wife's charity, After School Matters. 

Now, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group has one big tip for the mayor: "Don't be Daley."

“When it comes to the budget, accountability and transparency should be the rule," said Celeste Meiffren, field director of Illinois PIRG, in a statement. "In a phrase, the new mayor needs to ‘not be Daley’ – to break with the disappointing record of his predecessor on these issues.”

The group says Emanuel should avoid "budget gimmicks" such as last-minute asset privatization (i.e. parking meters) and provide a separate tax increment financing budget when introducing the main budget.

The group further criticized the former mayor for pushing through the parking meter deal and privatizing the Skyway Tollway, and said if Emanuel does look to the big "P," he should not build privatization savings into the budget.

“That 11th hour politicking helped Mayor Daley move controversial proposals, but ended up badly hurting our budget,” Meiffren said.

Emanuel has courted ideas in recent months to help balance the budget and has even utilized some of them. On the other hand, Ward Room gets the feeling the mayor isn't the type who wants to be told what to do.

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