Daley's Tax Game

Still wants more of your money

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley says he won't raise taxes.

    Read Mayor Daley's lips: No new taxes.

    Now watch Mayor Daley's actions: new taxes.

    What we have here is a failure to communicate honestly.

    Daley pledged on Thursday that he will not raise taxes or fees of any kind to plug a $500 million budget deficit because people are hurting badly in tough economic times. Fair enough.

    But Daley has already raised taxes and fees, is raising taxes and fees, and will raise taxes and fees going forward.

    He controls the Board of Education, for example, which has been raising your taxes. He controls the CTA, which is on its way to raising fares while cutting service. You already know you are paying more for parking meters; you are also paying more through stepped-up meter and traffic enforcement and tools like red-light cameras that are being used to fill city coffers. (And by the way, using money from the sale of the parking meters to help plug the budget gap is nice but it's not free; who do you think is reimbursing the private meter company for the money it gave to the city to buy the meters? You are!)

    And the mayor's use of TIF districts has increased your tax burden and will continue doing so in the future.

    This mayor is ingenius in the ways he thinks of to get into your wallet.

    Now, I'm not allergic to tax increases, though I'd rather see corruption and cronyism eliminated before I'm asked to send more money to the mayor's pals. And raising taxes in tough economic times isn't necessarily a great economic strategy. But then, pols don't like to raise taxes in good economic times either because, well, times are good.

    But they do raise taxes. Just not in the most obvious ways.

    Instead, it might be nice to see a steady, progressive tax rate that adjusts upwards and downwards with the times. You know, smooth things out. And frankly, I'd rather pay a higher single tax bill once a year than be nickel-and-dimed day-in and day-out. That's just aggravating.

    But the point here is to pay no attention to the mayor's lips. Keep your eyes on his paws as he slips them into your pockets and tells you otherwise.

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