Attention taxpayers: Chicago isn't broke. City officials simply refuse to cut waste, fraud and corruption. Instead, they want to forward the inflated bills to you.
Mayor Richard Daley's proposed 2008 budget includes many unsavory morsels. Rather than comply with a federal court decree prohibiting patronage, the city budgets half a million to defend its inevitable violations. Rather than fund the independent inspector general's office to root out corruption, the mayor seeks $2.5 million to create his own internal "Office of Compliance," which predictably will expose about as much corruption in City Hall as the notoriously inept Office of Professional Standards uncovers in the Chicago Police Department.
Rather than close the gap that allows insurance companies to avoid paying a business "head tax," the city continues the special exemption.
Rather than leveling the taxes paid by utility companies, the city extends a policy that allows one company to pay a fraction of what another pays.
It's just $293 million, Daley is telling taxpayers about his proposed new taxes and fees.
The city's latest tax push, called by some a "Corruption, Waste and Mismanagement Tax" or a "Lazy Bureaucracy Tax," is compounded because it coincides with similarly huge tax hikes proposed by Cook County and state government.
It seems as if Daley, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Gov. Rod Blagojevich are in a race to see who can raise your taxes the highest.
The city's "corruption tax" is something I tried to calculate when I was exploring a run for mayor in 2006. While an exact figure is impossible to pinpoint, I conservatively estimated that the tax exceeded $1.5 billion in recent years -- including $300 million for the do-nothing hired truckers; $500 million for illegal hiring under the Shakman decree; well over $100 million in fraudulent "minority" contracts to white-owned businessmen; and at least $25 million in legal fees and settlements for police torture cases. And that's just scratching the surface.
I oppose new city taxes, and I urge the City Council to do so as well.
15 hours ago