Sunday night’s thriller against Green Bay is likely to be the last good news that Chicagoans get this week as local government bodies prepare to deliver a one-two punch that may sting worse than any suffered in decades here.I have never been for taxes and I'm not going to change that. It seems that for better or for worse the only reasons that the CTA, City of Chicago, and Cook County is struggling financially right now because of mismanagement. That's the way it seems to me especially if these entities are looking for money and the only choice to be had is raising taxes.
First — barring a Springfield miracle — the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will unveil a proposed 2008 budget that, unlike prior versions, almost certainly will be the real Doomsday thing. Likely to be on the table are as much as a 20% cut in overall service, well more than 1,000 layoffs and another round of fare hikes that would make CTA passenger charges the highest in the country.
Shortly before or after CTA President Ron Huberman takes the stage, Mayor Richard M. Daley on Wednesday will unveil his own heaping helping of woes: service cuts and tax hikes that insiders have warned may include a stunning $100-million hike in the property tax as part of the proposed 2008 city budget.
And the CTA and city shots, of course, come as the Cook County Board considers an increase of 2% in the county’s sales tax proposed by county President Todd Stroger — an action that would make Chicagoans pay an 11% sales tax on just about everything they purchase, easily the highest in the country.
These proposals also come as Springfield squabbles over a proposed property-tax hike that threatens to hit city homeowners with what County Assessor Jim Houlihan says would be an average 40% increase on bills due later this year.
“It’s an all-out race to see who can raise taxes higher, faster than others in the race,” says Gerald Roper, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “It says that government doesn’t know how to stop spending.”
I imagine that what's also problematic is the situation in Springfield. A governor who wants to get as much money as he can for his own grand schemes but seeminlgy unwilling to get what he wants unless the legislature compromises with him by giving him what he wants. The legislature, seemingly the Illinois House of Representatives doesn't seem to want to play that game though.