Anyone who owes City Hall money for parking tickets, fines or other fees could see a portion of his or her state tax refund taken by the City.
The proposal was advanced by the city council's budget committee Tuesday and would provide a vehicle for legislators to lift fees directly from your refund.
"The burden is constantly falling on law-abiding families who are paying what’s due of them and yet they are carrying the unfair burden for those that aren’t following the rules and are not paying what’s due to them," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday at an unrelated event. "I'm leveling the playing field so it doesn't tilt in favor of those that cheat and cheat other taxpayers."
The measure could add up to $20 million to city coffers, the managing deputy of the Department of Finance, Tina Consola, told aldermen, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. It's money owed the city from red light cameras, parking tickets and administrative hearings.
More than 100,000 residents owe roughly $80 million total to the city, officials said. One woman owes the city a little more than $93,000 in unpaid parking and speeding tickets.
Only debt dating back to 2005 would be eligible for collection, under a recently-passed state law. And collection would only happen after debtors were sent and ignored several notices.
Debts that aren't covered by a taxpayer's refund will remain on the books for five years. Each year, the state will keep a $15 processing fee.
Naturally, many people aren't pleased with the government's hand in their money.
"It's a disgusting display of the government's attitude that our money is theirs to do with as they see fit; that it's not our choice as to how we spend our money," said Rae Ann McNeilly, the director of outreach for Taxpayers United of America.
The full city council is expected to take up the measure on Wednesday.