Thursday, August 03, 2006

Chicago's controversial big- box ordinance has produced its first casualty

Well Target isn't coming to 115th and Mansfield. Target has cancelled plans for building a new store at that intersection. This was what Carrie Austin, she's the alderman there in the 34th Ward has to say about this...

Austin was one of only 15 aldermen to vote against the big-box ordinance. She was devastated, but not surprised, when the letter arrived from Target. "My colleagues are saying, 'Don't worry. They'll come.' Well, mine just left," Austin said.

"I'm depressed. Calumet Park has land right across the street they can develop. Our development will just sit there for another century. I don't need more housing. I need sales tax revenue and jobs. How do I pull my community out of the slump that it's in? How do we get a rebirth? Sales tax revenue. That's how."

Shiller did not return repeated phone calls. Austin said she's now pinning her hopes on a mayoral veto.

"That would be a big yahoo for me because that means my development can get a breath of new air. Without it, it will not take place at any time -- not next week, next month or next year," she said.
Well the vote was said to be veto proof but if the Mayor was to veto this ordinance he has to persuade two alderman. I read in the Tribune yesterday that he has to make a decision by September 13th. Here's what was also said about that in today's Sun-Times article...

Another mayoral ally, who asked to remain anonymous, noted that all of the undecided votes broke in favor of the ordinance, in part, because of a lack of direction from Daley.

"If he put 'em on, he can take 'em off," the alderman said of last week's veto-proof 35-14 vote.

If Daley decides to veto -- and pick another fight with a City Council growing bolder by the day -- there are several likely targets to be plucked off. They include mayoral allies Todd Stroger (8th), who needs Daley's support in the race for County Board president; John Pope (10th); George Cardenas (12th); Ginger Rugai (19th); Danny Solis (25th), who may want to run for city clerk or Congress, and Ariel Reboyras (30th).
...
Solis was undecided up until the moment he cast his vote in favor of the "living wage" ordinance. Asked last week if Daley could persuade him to change his mind, Solis said, "If he asked me, I'd consider it only after hearing his rationale for it. But I don't believe he'll want to do it. It's too much of a polarizing situation. Let the courts take care of it."

Another big-box supporter, who asked to remain anonymous, said he too could be persuaded to change sides. But he doesn't want to be publicly identified yet, for fear of being hung out to dry.
Also said in today's article, which was also said in the Tribune yesterday was that Daley warned that this ordinance could translate into higher property taxes because the city would miss out on the resulting sales tax revenue from a store that has 90,000 square feet and does $1 Billion in sales...
"I know. Fine. When they get the property tax bills, they'll agree with me. . . . I believe the sales tax is a fairer tax than the property tax. That's what the issue will be about," Daley said at a City Hall news conference called to renew the call for property tax relief.
Let's hope either the courts can decide this or the mayor is successful in vetoing this legislation.

Crossposted @ Illinoize

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