The Wordplay's the Thing

Don't be a player abater, Daley.

By Steve Rhodes
|  Thursday, Aug 13, 2009  |  Updated 9:38 AM CDT
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Chicago's Political Players

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Any way you spell it, higher taxes hurt.

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Mayor Daley has learned a new word, and he can't stop using it. The term: abatement.

Apparently he finds this noun more pleasing than the two words it replaced in his lexicon: tax increase.

Abatement, abatement, abatement!

The mayor's having an abatement bonanza!

Why?

Easy: Daley's handpicked school officials want him to raise property taxes to the max, just like they've done nearly every year since Daley took over the school system 14 years ago, according to Fran Spielman  in the Sun-Times.

And Daley, friend of the taxpayer, will have none if it!

Well, OK, he'll have some of it.

The Mayor insists that the school district get only half of the tax hike it desires. And because of this compassionate move Daley portrays it as a 50 percent tax cut! 

Or, you might, say, an abatement.

“They’re not raising property taxes. We’re abating 50 percent of the property tax," Daley said on Tuesday. "Instead of going up to $83 [million] or $100 million, we’re abating about fifty-some million."

True, the third definition of abatement on Dictionary.com is "an amount deducted or subtracted, as from the usual price or the full tax."

Key phrase: "the usual price." 

Daley is abating the new price.

In other words - the ones the mayor doesn't like to use - he's raising taxes.

The third definition of weasel, by the way, is "a cunning, sneaky person."

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

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