Daley [Hearts] United

Can't give them enough money

By Steve Rhodes
|  Friday, Sep 11, 2009  |  Updated 1:11 PM CDT
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Daley [Hearts] United

AP

United Airlines is making out like a bandit in the move to Willis Tower.

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Mayor Daley must really love the way United flies.

He can't seem to stop giving them money.

The mayor has already doled out almost $5.5 million to help the airline refurbish its new headquarters in the Willis Tower, $10 million to offset the local jet fuel tax, and $25 million to bring the company's operations center downtown.

Now he's pushing an additional $10 million subsidy through the city council just for good measure.

Taxpayers are now subsidizing more than 50 percent of United's move.

"If the plan goes through as is, that will mean United has secured $50 million in taxpayer funds in less than two years," Josh Kalven writes at Progress Illinois. "Wow."

Daley has defended the subsidies because of the jobs United will bring to downtown Chicago.

But the handouts come at a time when city workers are losing their jobs, and social services are being slashed.

"The mayor can reach into these pots of gold for handouts to United Airlines, MillerCoors, the Willis Tower, the Block 37 underground station, the Olympics, or whatever other idea pops into his head while everyone else struggles with higher parking fees, slower garbage collection, and, almost inevitably, bigger tax bills," Ben Joravsky writes at the Reader

There will always be money for refurbishing corporate suites. 

And taxpayers will be tapped to pay for it. 

The least United could do is give us some frequent flier points in return. 

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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